The power of flowers: How one Bay Area tech company's small weekly delivery created a big morale boost

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Few of us ever thought remote work would now be in its sixth month.

It can be isolating and challenging, but a Peninsula tech company WorkBoard believes a small gesture makes remote work more pleasant.

Their story is a part of a series of ABC7 News Building A Better Bay Area reports this week on changing workplaces.

Roya Register is one of 120 remote workers at Redwood City's WorkBoard. She was surprised six months ago to receive a vase filled with yellow tulips. She even posting a photo of them on social media.
"That was a day when I really needed the flowers and a little mood boost, and it was really nice," she said. She's working remotely in Atlanta while attending Georgia Tech.

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Every week every WorkBoard team member gets flowers delivered to their home as a thank you from CEO Deidre Paknad.

"It's a nice way to kind of, you know, bring people together and for all of us to feel unified in the way even when we're apart," Roya said.

No gift card is attached. Tom Lepp, working remotely in Seattle, had some fun and didn't tell his family who was sending them.

"I really want to take credit for it," he said. "But like when they started showing up on week two and week three, week four, yeah, they knew it wasn't me."

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Lepp says his wife, a teacher who also works remotely, appreciates the flowers, too.

"Hey, Tom, I'm going to take these in my classroom," she said. "Thanks, WorkBoard."

"When the flowers show up, there's always a cheer in the house," Lepp said. "And my wife actually, she keeps the flowers right next to her. So her first grade class gets to see the flowers, too."

The weekly delivery only costs about $10 per person. The joy it spreads is important to WorkBoard's CEO, who recognizes that it's not easy to work weeks on end, in isolation, devoid of in-person interaction.

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"If I can make a small contribution to just a little bit of delight to offset whatever drama is going on in our world right now, it's an easy move, really easy move," said CEO Deidre Paknad.

An accommodation was made for an employee who is allergic to flowers. She receives tea instead. WorkBoard also plans other surprises as remote work continues into the fall, perhaps reflecting back-to-school, Halloween and other themes. The flower deliveries help to support small businesses across many cities where WorkBoard has remote workers.

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