From web hosting to composting

Web hosting expert Corey at Sussex prairie garden

We want to make the planet a better place both as a business and as individuals. One way to do this is to offer our people paid volunteering days. We believe it’s good – perhaps necessary – to sometimes get out of our day to day world and see the world from a different perspective.

Our sustainable web developer Corey recently spent a couple of days swapping code for compost and learning about drought resistant gardening at Sussex Prairie Garden.

Mutual Benefits

Corey repotting nursery plants during his volunteering days

The benefits of employee volunteering days are many and far reaching. The charity or organisation obviously benefits from the labour but so does the wider community that they serve. Many charitable organisations depend entirely on the work of volunteers to keep going.

Employee volunteering has also been shown to have a positive effect on the person doing the volunteering. This includes things like enhanced sense of belonging and purpose, as well as greater job satisfaction and wellbeing. We have definitely found this to be true for our own team.

Bringing impressions and experiences from other settings into the studio is also good for business. Creative ideas require lateral thinking. And innovation is often the result of combining two seemingly unrelated things to discover something new – like Tupac and Elton John or Crocs and Balenciaga – known as cross pollination. Which leads us neatly into Corey’s prairie gardening experience.

Drought resistant gardening

The beautiful drought resistant Sussex prairie garden

“For my volunteer days, I chose to volunteer at Sussex Prairie Garden. One of the reasons I chose to volunteer here was due to me becoming more green fingered during the pandemic. Although the plants I keep are indoor plants, I wanted to try and learn more about other plants and plant care. With this year’s level of drought, I thought it would be good to learn a bit about drought resistant plants, and where better to do that than the UK’s largest prairie.

The gardens opened in 2009 and is a family run farm made up of over 8 acres of garden that is cared for almost entirely by volunteers. The garden encourages exploration using a network of small wood chip paths which snake through the huge borders.

During my time there I assisted with a large number of jobs, from helping potting up plants from the nursery ready for sale which helps fund the gardens to assisting with cutting back the hedges that surround the walk way down the middle of the gardens and this all made for a very different experience for myself who spends most work days behind a computer screen, to be able to see the result in person at the end of the day of the work I had put in felt like a great accomplishment. To be able to look back on it I feel like I learn a bit more about prairie/grassland plants and their care, even bringing back with me some perennial plants to plant in the garden.”

What’s been your experience with corporate volunteering? Or do you have any tips on growing plants in a changing climate?
We’d love to chat – get in touch.