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Business News


Keep calm and install an aquarium By Dan Harrison


At a time when employers are placing greater emphasis on the wellbeing of their staff, a Birmingham-based aquarium design company has found a remedy to help workforces keep their heads above water. ViDERE has taken a deep-dive


into the effect that interacting with aquariums and fish tanks has on stress levels. The company, which has just


finished exhibiting its second ‘Life Gallery’ at the Jewellery Quarter base of furniture manufacturer The Senator Group, is fuelled by founder Akil Beckford’s lifelong love of nature. West Bromwich-born Akil, who


began making fish tanks while studying animal biology at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “I’d kept fish as a young boy then, while I was at university, I started setting up fish tanks and ponds for people at the local pet shop to supplement my income. “When I left university it was a


case of ‘do I become a teacher or do I do this?’ I was getting enquires to do bespoke integrated water tanks and I enjoyed doing that.” Akil began making aquariums for


residential spaces. But a fascination with biophilia – the impact the natural world has on humans and their emotions – led ViDERE down a different path. “Two years ago, when I rebranded the company, I was exposed to the


improves the look and feel of the workplace, but also because it can have a positive impact on the team's mental and physical health. “Now I am more aware of the


benefits biophilic design and nature’s algorithm brings to the Lightbox office, I am more keen to spend that little extra time observing the fish. Their calming influence can really be felt.” Akil, who employs a team of six,


Flower power: Akil Beckford


‘All companies are made up of teams of people, and if they are feeling better, the business performs better’


whole world of commercial design,” the 34-year-old explained. “But I also noticed the ethos of


companies and what they wanted to spend their money on, which was around how their space actually improves how people feel. “I discovered a whole concept


around biophilia and the last two years have been all about how the aquarium itself improves how people feel in that space.” Akil and his team put their


theories around nature and workplace wellbeing to the test on Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce patrons Lightbox Digital.


Looking specifically at the


impact on heart rate and blood pressure, ViDERE recorded results before and after employees at the digital agency looked into their office fish-tank. The results showed that looking


into a planted aquarium for 10 minutes led to an average drop in blood pressure by 15.6 per cent and an average drop in heart rate by three per cent. Lightbox commercial director PJ


Ellis said of the stress-busting study: “It illustrated to me how important our aquarium is to our people. Not just because it


intends to continue educating businesses on how they can facilitate wellbeing at work. Lightbox opted to keep their aquarium after a three-month trial, while installations are planned at clothing store Clements & Church and kitchen designers Poggenpohl, among others. “While our own study was on a


small scale, the universal impact that it had on our individual test subjects is testament to the impact that simple changes can make to the bigger picture for businesses. “All companies are made up of


teams of people, and if they are feeling better, the business performs better.” So, what options can ViDERE


provide for your work space? “As well as the larger aquariums,


we do a desktop range which are a lower investment,” adds Akil. “But we have recently started


offering tanks on a lease hire basis, which has become a lot more palatable.”


For more information visit www.videreaquariums.com


April 2020 CHAMBERLINK 23


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