Startup founders have infamously unpredictable daily schedules as they work to establish and grow their businesses. What does such an entrepreneur’s weekly, daily, or even hourly routine look like when sometimes there aren’t enough hours in a day? In The Startup Diaries, founders walk us through a week in their lives and show what it really takes to get a fledgling business off the ground.

In June 2018, the Canadian government announced plans to legalize marijuana. That same month, Toronto recruiter Brian Sekandi set his new venture, Careers Cannabis, into motion.

He came up with the idea for a job-search tool for professionals seeking employment in the cannabis industry earlier in the year, after a fellow recruiter posted a callout on LinkedIn.

“He wrote, ‘I just met this fantastic director of sales, and he wants to get into the cannabis industry,’” Sekandi recalls. “‘But we don’t know where to start. Does anybody have any suggestions for how we can find jobs in the cannabis space?’ I thought, Hmm, if a recruiter can’t find what’s available, there’s no way regular folks can.”

Sekandi was already an entrepreneur—after 10 years at a recruitment firm, five of them as partner, he struck out on his own in 2016—but he had limited tech experience, which he’d need to launch the Careers Cannabis platform. His plan was to hire a developer while continuing to recruit for mainstream clients like Dyson and Yum! Brands. But that first step backfired within months.

“Right after we launched our proof of concept, I realized the tech wasn’t working the way we anticipated and there were long delays to fix very minor issues,” Sekandi, a WeWork Labs member who runs Careers Cannabis out of 1 University Ave, says. He parted ways with his initial developer, and the hiccup set his business back three or four months. “What we have now is not scalable from a technology standpoint,” he says. “There are a lot of errors. I have to rebuild the entire platform. The only blessing is that I’m learning this five months into my business, whereas some firms learn a year in and have to unravel a year of development.”

Despite the setback, he’s as confident as ever. “I think the cannabis industry is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to really help shape an entire field,” he says. “I get emails from all around the world from people trying to get into it.” With a new developer about to sign on and a junior developer on staff, he expects to have his platform updated by March or April, with his first angel investor onboard by June. “The dream is to build the highway for cannabis jobs globally,” he says. “That is what I want to do.”

Below, Sekandi chronicles a recent six-day workweek.

Sunday

9 a.m. I’ve been out sick the last couple days, and now it’s crunch time. I also need to get to the gym at some point today.

1:30 pm Go to WeWork and respond to emails. The development agency I cut ties with is now requesting money in exchange for documents we legally own. SMH.

You can always look back and say, “Hmm. I had so many warning signs.” I think the one thing that kind of prevented me from seeing those warning signs is that I became friends with my developer. And so you give friends the benefit of the doubt.

3 p.m. First time at the gym since November 2018. It feels good—very good—to be back. (Routine: rowing, deadlifts, pull-ups, rows, curls, push-ups, pull-downs.)

4:30 p.m. Curry chicken for $9.

5 p.m. Emails.

6 p.m. LinkedIn research for an e-commerce client. The past couple months I’ve been focusing on the cannabis side of my work. Now I’m doing a bit more regular recruitment so there’s some cash flow, because I’m going to have to start rebuilding the Careers Cannabis platform. The beauty is all my jobs are recruitment-related, so it’s not as if I have to switch gears and do something completely different—I’m not a baker on the side.

“The dream is to build the highway for cannabis jobs globally,” says Brian Sekandi.

7 p.m. Read with dinner and watch a few videos on Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her cult following.

8 p.m. Leave WeWork and take the train back home.

9 p.m. Home. 420. I smoke a lot less than people might assume. I think there’s an assumption—especially for myself, as an African-American with a cannabis company—that I might be smoking cannabis all day, and that’s not accurate. There is no way you could be productive. The other piece that a lot of people don’t understand is that you can smoke cannabis that doesn’t actually get you high. You can smoke cannabis with a high concentration of CBD and a low concentration of THC that helps take off stress and anxiety.

10 p.m. Watch the movie Vice and enjoy some downtime. Staying plugged in to pop culture is important in terms of speaking to our audience. We want to be relevant.

11 p.m. Meditation. I put meditation back into my routine in December. It helps to center me; it helps slow things down; it helps remind me that there are things more important in life than the stresses of day-to-day, money, status, position. Not that those things aren’t important, but it helps to put those things in perspective.

Monday

8 a.m. Morning meditation.

8:20 a.m. Social-media updates on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

9 a.m. Hot lemon-water for breakfast. I usually don’t eat until after 11:30 a.m., or at least 14 hours after my last meal the night before.

9:10 a.m. Update Facebook for the week via Hootsuite. Schedule 15 posts (three per day) until Friday.

11:15 a.m. Arrive at WeWork and start responding to emails; I bring my inbox down to a manageable number (under 40 messages) for the afternoon. Then I schedule a lunch for later this week with a VP at one of Canada’s largest cannabis consultancy companies.

12:10 p.m. Lunch from Paramount at Union Station, $10 box meal.

12:30 p.m. Daily news reading: Donald Trump, Gillette’s new #MeToo ad, Jay-Z Tidal news, Netflix’s Roma Academy Awards campaign.

1 p.m. Update customer-relationship management (CRM) system. This is the platform I use for my traditional and cannabis recruiting work.

2 p.m. Meet with Fasken, a leading law firm in Toronto. Get lots of insights on how they can help us grow, raise money, connect with key early stage-investors, and develop long-term growth strategies. Great people! I’ve shortlisted two firms, Fasken and Osler, and am doing rounds to get a sense of who’s going to be a good fit to hire.

3:30 p.m. Coffee and chocolate snack back at WeWork.

3:35 p.m. Continue with CRM system update and email client with a search update.

5:15 p.m. Thai for dinner from Union Station. The rice was the best part of meal.

6 p.m. Impromptu chat at WeWork with a CEO who, like me, has had experience with bad developers. Get advice on how to manage this situation. What I did was, when I communicated with the developer, instead of getting into the “you did this, you promised me this,” I just looked at the facts. I keep the emotions out of our discussions, because that’s when these situations get really bad.

6:30 p.m. Set up a Vevo channel for my sisters’ music group, Najuah.

7 p.m. Send out appointment invitations for the week.

7:30 p.m. Gym: deadlifts, farmer’s walk, push-ups, and row, row, row…

8:45 p.m. Back at WeWork to follow up on remaining emails before heading home.

10 p.m. Unwind a bit. 420.

10:30 p.m. Watch one of Kevin Hart’s new movies. Should’ve finished the Cheney movie.

11:30 p.m. Meditation.

12 a.m. Insomnia. Take magnesium pills to help with sleep.

Approx. 1 a.m. Finally fall asleep.

Tuesday

9 a.m. Warm lemon-water for breakfast. Check a few emails.

9:30 a.m. Cut my hair and trim the beard.

12 p.m. WeWork Labs talk: Building your eCommerce Strategy with Justin Holmes, VP of 7Shifts and former VP of Knix. Insightful session.

1 p.m. Lunch: Jerk chicken, $12.

2 p.m. Do more research on Fasken and Osler. Thought I was close to a decision on this, but after speaking to a few tech-startup CEOs, I’m less sure about which firm would be the best partner.

3:30 p.m. Call with my podcast producer to speak about our first show edit. The podcast is going to be our marketing vehicle, where we can talk to a wider audience and hopefully channel them into our career platform. The format is kind of like a breakfast show. It’s a conversation about pop culture, so we talk about things that are not necessarily related directly to cannabis, but are around the culture of cannabis. I think if you’re a cannabis user or in the cannabis space, you don’t want to just talk about cannabis all the time.

4 p.m. LinkedIn Inmail messaging for a new recruitment project.

5 p.m. Dinner at McDonald’s. Not a great experience today, foodwise.

5:30 p.m. Respond to LinkedIn Inmails, set up appointments, update my CRM, and have an impromptu chat with a few tech CEOs about code, servers, and server migration.

6 p.m. Write an email update to a potential development company with thoughts on budget for MVP (minimum viable product), design work, and the possibility of an angel investor coming onboard as a coding partner. The company that I initially wanted to partner with is now the company I’m in late-stage conversations with to build the tech. They were so busy by the time I was ready to build in June that I moved with this other company.

6:45 p.m. Take a 20-minute break for news and comedy.

7 p.m. Research, emails, set up appointments for tomorrow.

9:15 p.m. Train home.

9:45 p.m. Have some homemade stew and watch the Netflix series “Friends From College.”

12 a.m. Meditate.

1 a.m. Finally get to bed.

Wednesday

8 a.m. I get a nice email from the old development company. They’re more open to ending the relationship amicably.

8:15 a.m. Social-media updates for Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Read some business news on the RT News app, Drudge Report, and Toronto Star.

10 a.m. Leave for the train.

10:45 a.m. Breakfast from McDonald’s—hash browns and a bagel.

11 a.m. Emails.

12 p.m. Meet with the VP at one of North America’s largest cannabis consulting companies, give him a tour of WeWork, and go to lunch at McEwan’s. At one point, we start to talk about our cannabis use. I think we are both assessing how will we be judged by how frequently we smoke. We have a really good conversation and set up a time to speak again.

2 p.m. Meet with WeWork Labs manager to get his advice on development, legal-firm decision, and potential angel partnership opportunity.

3 p.m. Complete two phone screenings for a new client, then respond to emails and set up appointments and interviews for Friday.

4:30 p.m. Early dinner at WVRST.

5:30 p.m. Meet with another lawyer from Fasken.

9:30 p.m. Back home. Have a phone call with a friend who’s looking for some advice on business-development strategies.

11 p.m. Catch up on personal emails and plan for tomorrow.

12 a.m. Meditate and sleep.

Thursday

8:30 a.m. Social updates, read some news, and respond to urgent emails.

9 a.m. Meditate and get ready for the day. Respond to some more emails before heading to the train, which is running behind schedule and makes me late for my 12 p.m. conference call.

12:10 p.m. Get to the office, set up my conference call, and get a better understanding of technical capabilities on the new CRM system I’ve been using.

12:45 p.m. Arrive at Constantine at the Anndore House. The CMO of my potential new development agency is waiting at our table; the CTO is running behind but we start to discuss today’s agenda while waiting.

1 p.m. CTO arrives and we discuss expectations for the next couple months.

3 p.m. Back at the office—lots of emails to respond to this afternoon. Finalizing several recruitment interviews for Friday.

3:30 p.m. Set up a boardroom in WeWork for a conference call with a podcast producer outside the U.S. It’s a working conference call on technical podcast strategies to ensure the best audio and audio-interface settings. Set up a Sure microphone and an ATR to audio interface, and download a new version of Audacity.

5:15 p.m. Back at my desk to review emails and respond to urgent messages.

6 p.m. Leave work early and visit a friend for a quick catchup in Yorkville.

7 p.m. Was going to attend an after-party at the Spoke Club for the International Design show but decide to go home early. Thursdays are typically the day I crash.

8 p.m. Watch Netflix.

9 p.m. Get an email from my old development company agreeing to my proposal for parting ways. This is great news and a big stress lifted.

Friday

8 a.m. Meditate and get ready for the day, which is packed with recruitment interviews.

11 a.m. Take train to the office and grab lunch prior to arriving.

1 p.m. Skype interview for a client. Goes very well—I like the candidate and will make a recommendation.

2 p.m. Informational Skype interview with someone interested in the cannabis industry. He has a great profile, excellent education, and is looking for a senior marketing role. He’s with one of the top tech companies in the country, maybe the world, and he’s looking to leave all of that to get into the cannabis industry. So it tells you how much the cannabis industry is having an impact.

3 p.m. Next meeting is in person, for a client. Good candidate, very technical and more analytical than needed for the role, but I like his personality.

4 p.m. Another Skype meeting. This one doesn’t go so well: The candidate wasn’t able to answer questions directly, he didn’t have a good reason for leaving his last two employers, and he did the Skype while sitting on his bed with his laptop on his lap.

5 p.m. Catch up on email, get dinner, and head back to the office for my last meeting.

6 p.m. Candidate delays meeting by 30 minutes. We finally connect at 6:30 and decide that the role is not a good fit for him.

7:30 p.m. Leave the office and head home. Arrive completely exhausted and relax before crashing early at 9 p.m. Eventually, I want to develop a strong enough business that I’m able to spend more time with friends and family, and more time in Uganda, where I’m from and where my parents live. The goal is to be a digital-nomad CEO.

Photos by Kayla Rocca

Some workplaces seem more child-friendly than others. Got a big corner office with an assistant and a drawer full of markers and paper? Why not bring your kid in for the day? They’ll be entertained and minimally disruptive. On the other hand, if you’re a university professor teaching undergrads the finer points of microeconomics, it’s fair to assume that your child will be bored sitting in a lecture hall for hours.

But Carolyn McKecuen, executive director of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (TODASTWD), which celebrates its 26th year today, believes otherwise. “When this day first started, there were too many kids sitting around offices coloring and being kept entertained—but it’s a lot more constructive today than it’s ever been.”

Every workplace offers an opportunity to learn, says McKecuen. Department-store visual designers bring their kids in to dress mannequins paint, and set up window displays. The children of restaurant workers shadow hosts or servers, setting the tables and working as greeters at the front door. “People get really creative with these things,” says McKecuen, who also counts prisons, hospitals, and government agencies among the businesses who participate in the day. “And the kids get to work a little more closely with staff and with their parents.”

At Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, TODASTW planner and talent-acquisition coordinator Michelle Rampmeyer expects 45-50 kids to attend the day’s events on campus. Children of the deans, faculty, support staff—“literally everyone,” says Rampmeyer—are invited to the School of Engineering for a robotics demo and hands-on activity, and to the Office of Teaching and Learning for an “escape the room-style” session. They’ll also go on a trivia-fueled scavenger hunt run by the Greek student honor society.

The goal, says Rampmeyer is to “have the kids be hands-on and get some campus experience.” Plus, she adds, “It makes it so that your child thinks it’s fun where you work when you leave them every day.”

Nicole Centeno, founder of ready-made soup and smoothie delivery brand Splendid Spoon, plans to give her boys, ages 4 and 5, the full workday experience for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. “I’ll ride my bike with a bike trailer on the back for them—we’ll make it into a whole little journey,” she says of her commute to Brooklyn’s WeWork 109 S 5th St, where she’s a member. “They like to help by watering the plants in the office, then do an activity from a file drawer of activities, play with the dogs in the office … they have their own spot set up.”

For Centano, it’s important for her sons to understand what she creates. “They like to open our office fridge and see all of our products,” she says. “They’ll each pick out a soup, warm it up in the kitchen, and then critique it seriously, like, ‘Wow, this is really delicious soup.’”

Stephanie Joy Benedetto, founder of Queen of Raw (and a WeWork Creator Awards winner), has set up her 3-year-old son with his own workspace at home and brings him to the office with her so he can understand what she does. “I’m running a marketplace with tools for businesses to buy and sell their fabric waste to each other and keep them out of landfills,” she explains. “I’m inspired by my son—he’s why I am bringing sustainability-in-business solutions to make the world a better place for his future.”

Benedetto says her WeWork 349 5th Ave location in New York has a full day of activities set up for TODASTWD, starting with a group breakfast, and she’s sure that her son will enjoy interacting with other kids and being in the office environment. “He’s used to a community-based office, with the vibrancy and the noise,” she says. “And my co-founder is bringing his child, who is less than a year. At any age, we see the value in bringing them to see what we do.”

The more kids are exposed to different types of jobs across different industries, the easier it will be for them to find their own fit in the workforce. “This is a day that opens kids’ eyes,” says McKecuen. “All the stuff they learn at school, they get to see how it’s put to work when they go to an office or a police department or wherever. It lets kids know there are careers out there they can work toward.”

Four ways to get your kid involved in your day—no matter what’s on your calendar

Have them make lunch reservations. Phone skills are a dying art. Have your son or daughter practice by calling a local restaurant for lunch reservations for the two of you—or ask them to place a delivery order by phone.

Let them spellcheck your resume. In between jobs? Help them hone their computer skills by letting them spellcheck your résumé (this task might also spark a discussion about your own background and career path).

Ask them to plan the commute. Taking public transportation? Ask them to check departure times and overall travel time. On the road? Have them preview the route for traffic and construction.

Put them in charge of inventory. Ask your kid to make sure you’re adequately stocked on stickies, markers, and any other supplies you use regularly (older kids can then order whatever’s running low).

Fitness and lifestyle brand Athleta knows the value of parents and children playing sports together. On April 25, the retailer joined forces with WeWork to bring a yoga and movement class to those families celebrating Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at WeWork Chelsea HQ.

Beyond Athleta, a new crop of athletic programs is translating exercise into something parents and their children can—and should—do together.

For some families, this is already second nature. Vadim Shoykhet’s parents started Physique Swim School in New Jersey in 1997 after his family immigrated to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union, where his mother and father were professional swim coaches. In 2004, Shoyket moved to New York to attend college, and he brought Physique Swim School to Manhattan with him.

In the 15 years since, Shoyket has watched his younger students—many of whom he taught to swim  himself—grow up, and has seen how the sport has affected their development into adulthood.

“When children learn to swim, they’re doing themselves more favors than simply learning how to navigate through the water,” says Shoyket, a member at New York’s WeWork 25 Broadway. “Swimming skills can help a child develop the mental, emotional, and physical strength necessary to develop and grow into a healthy and successful adult.”

According to Shoyket, a recent study in Australia and New Zealand showed that children who were engaged in swimming scored significantly better than the general population on cognitive language skills and mental development. And swimming, as with other physical activities, also helps improve coordination and balance, and develop muscle tone.

Physique Swim School allows children to start swimming at an early age, offering “Me & My Shadow”parent-child classes  forkids as young as 4months old. The trust that materializes in the pool between parents and their young children is palpable, and according to Shoyket, it can last a lifetime.

“The bond that the child creates with their parents in the water really grows outside the water, as well,” he says. “As the kids get older, they’re able to transition into working with a teacher. It’s the building block that allows them to be open to receiving instructions from an instructor.”

As children progress beyond swim floaties and paddle toward adolescence, that bond is more important than ever. At Mentor Foundation USA, an organization that works to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse and promote health and wellbeing, president and CEO Michaela Pratt sees that firsthand.

Mentor Foundation USA estimates that the quality of parent-child relationships is 10 times more powerful than demographics in predicting whether children develop critical character strengths, and Pratt believes that goes back to the investment parents make in their relationships with their children. Something simple like volunteering to coach their child’s little league team—one of the recommendations made to parents—goes a long way.

“Parents understand what an enormous responsibility, but also ability, they have to guide their young children,” says Pratt, a member at WeWork 1775 Tysons Blvd in Washington, D.C. “It’s about combining the work world to fit your needs to be the best at what you can be, not only at work, but also at home, and combine the two to have a healthier life for yourself and your children.”

Debra Giunta founded dance education company Design Dance in 2008 with a similar mission: to bring dance education to children through partnerships with schools and community centers. Growing up dancing in the south suburbs of Chicago, Giunta, a member at Chicago’s WeWork 1 W Monroe St, found dance to be uniquely therapeutic in a way she hopes to pass along to children and their parents.

“Dance is both a physical activity and an artistic activity, so when we move, we can really access emotions and thoughts that we’re not accessing regularly,” she says. “There’s a lot of feelings and memories that live in the body that we’re not consciously thinking about, but when we move, we’re able to access those things.”

Like Physique Swim School’s “Me & My Shadow” course, Design Dance advocates for tandem parent-and-child movement. In 2017, Giunta launched an offshoot for children between ages 3and 5called The Groove, which focuses on the needs of families affected by disability.

“A lot of people think they need to learn how to dance in order to engage with dance,” she says. “But I always use the analogy of a wedding. If you go to a wedding, you have a bunch of people who would never call themselves dancers, but who hear music and get up and dance and have a great time.”

Brands and programs may make it seamless for parents to incorporate physical activity into their family lives. But there’s no need to wait until Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day to enjoy the benefits of. Shoyket, for one, encourages parents to incorporate swimming beyond the lap pool and into their family’s leisure time; look for a local pool’s open-swim hours or organize a beach day one Saturday once summer hits.

“When parents can find a way to incorporate that into their family life,” says Giunta, “it can be really impactful throughout the course of their child’s life.”

Below, three ways for parents to incorporate movement into their family’s everyday lifestyle:

Make long road trips a dance party. While the kids are safely strapped into the backseat, Giunta recommends putting on your family’s favorite playlist and grooving to the beat of the music—as much as the seatbelt will allow, of course.

Put on a yoga class on YouTube and turn the living room into a studio. There are plenty of options for full families or even just for a parent and child. What’s even better is that many of these tutorials are 10 minutes or less. Your younger children will be pleased.

When the weather cooperates, plan a beach (or pool) outing. Make a day of it. “Families can incorporate swim through leisure time—the love for water—by going to the beach, a pool, or a water park,” says Shoyket. “It creates a bonding experience for them.” Pack plenty of snacks and, obviously, SPF.

Illustration by Alana Peters / The We Company

Let’s say that you, a trusted, competent, beloved member of your workplace, were charged with increasing your company’s productivity by 15 percent and substantially boosting in your coworkers’ happiness. Most of the solutions to this kind of problem—say, a renovated space, group meditation, or workplace yoga—usually involve throwing a decent bit of money around, or asking employees to do things that aren’t, well, very productive. What you really need is a low-cost, low-maintenance solution that requires minimal effort or time from your colleagues, that inspires productivity and happiness.

You need plants.

Science has proved that a greener thumb leads to happier, healthier people. Study after study links the biological impact of plants, like cleaner air, with the psychological effect, like a more aesthetically pleasing environment. In a 2014 University of Exeter study, researchers saw a 15 percent increase in productivity after adorning an otherwise barren office with houseplants—a correlating result of its subjects also reporting increasingly positive perceptions with concentration in the office, air quality, and how satisfied they were at their jobs. A 2010 study from the New University of Technology Sydney yielded a similar result: Plants helped reduce stress levels and negative feelings 58 percent.

But plants are a pain: They are a pain to buy, a pain to move around, and a pain to care for. Going to a nursery or the greenery section of a hardware store is an endeavor of suffocatingly multilateral decisions to be made. Which size plant? Which species? What color? How much (or how little) light do you have in your room? And which of those plants require the level of care you’re willing to put forth? What kind of care is required of it? Which kind of soil does it need? And, finally: What. Kind. Of. Pot. Will. You. Put. It. In?

Plants are definitely earning their place on a pro forma cultural lifestyle checklist, the perfect adornment for finishing an Instagram-perfect living room. If you’re at all a citizen of the internet, looking at the Instagrams of young urbanites near and far, you’ve probably been served ads for companies like The Sill, a plant startup selling everything from succulents to room-dominating fiddle leaf trees in chic, color-blocked pottery. If nothing else, you’ve read the stories about plants as—what else?—a millennial trend: Bloomberg reports that startups like The Sill are taking advantage of the intersection of millennials’ delayed parenting plans and their desire to care for something living while still enjoying the frequent travel they’re known to value.

All it would take, then, would be some canny entrepreneurs who knew the greenery space, who understand our most contemporary anxieties, and who have a slick hand with branding to come along and solve for the plant-decision-paralysis that stops potential buyers before their first pottings. The world needed someone to make houseplants cool. The plant disrupters did just that.

Bloomscape founder and CEO Justin Mast.

Justin Mast comes from four generations of professional gardeners, and he practically grew up in his parents’ Michigan greenhouse. His company, Bloomscape, headquartered out of WeWork 19 Clifford St in downtown Detroit, is vaporizing the most quotidian details of dressing your workspace (or home) in greenery, making the most grating aspect of plant-buying a thing of the past. With a tightly knit (but, yes, growing) team of 13 employees, Mast is painting the country green, taking a personal understanding of what a new generation expects from their lives, and (yes) using it to help sprout a new standard around itself.

“Millenials have been a conscious group of consumers from the beginning,” says Mast, 36. “A lot of the mindfulness around food and where it comes from—I think we’re taking that same attitude to our homes and the environment that we’re in. It’s weird that you’d spend all this money taking yoga and drinking an organic smoothie, and then you come home to a stark space that’s full of chemicals in the air and Ikea furniture.” That same logic, Mast explained, should naturally extend to millennials’ expectations for workspaces.

Bloomscape begins by quizzing users on what they might want in a plant, what they might be able to commit to, both space-wise and timewise, and how much light the plant is going to get. After that, users pick a plant, which all come in Bloomscape’s one-motif-fits-all chic terracotta potting. After you place the order, the plant shows up at your door with a notecard detailing care instructions specific to the plant in terms so simple no green thumbs are required.

When it comes to picking the right plants for the office, Mast offers advice that has little to do with natural-light needs or water requirements: “Get a plant that’s interesting to you and the people around you,” he says. “There are some really funky and fun ones to choose from. A ponytail palm, for example, looks like a character from a Dr. Seuss book. Find plants that you can relate to. Or, more simply, just get excited about.”

In the canon of cliche quotes about gardening, a particularly common one comes from Spanish poet and playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca: “Green is the prime color of the world and that from which its loveliness arises.” Surely, some pinstripe-wearing stockbroker from a bygone era once purchased a brass and mahogany paperweight from the back of a SkyMall catalog with that line inscribed on it and mounted it next to his banker’s Lamp. But imagined misappropriations of Calderón notwithstanding, is it possible that plants genuinely boost success of one’s business and life? To say nothing of the loveliness of one’s life?  

“There’s a Dutch word  I grew up hearing a lot—gezelligheid,”  Mast says with a laugh. “It’s a feeling of warm, social, lighthearted coziness.” If that sounds like the kind of thing that can’t be faked—especially in a work setting—it absolutely is. It’s a feeling that needs to be cultivated naturally. And the easiest, healthiest way to see it around you involves cultivating nothing more than a little nature.

Hedge your bets

Before you plant your urban jungle, keep these things in mind.

Start with one plant. Then get a friend. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many plants right away. Get to know the rhythms and needs of a single pot. Once you’ve got that down, try another, similar plant—no two plants are exactly the same.

Read the instructions. You are not a bad plant parent. Plants are not a mystery —you just need to do your homework. Keep those tags with the plant name and care instructions. If something’s going wrong, read the label or expand your research online.

Pick a plant that inspires you. Instead of choosing something by how easy it is to care for, get a plant that excites you. If you’re interested in the plant, you’ll keep it alive.

Photographs by Stocksy and Nic Hagen

Even though every bit of news about climate change is, well, terrifying, it’s comforting and empowering to remember that small adjustments to our daily lives can make a big difference to Mother Nature. Each of these shoppable items (all created by WeWork members or sold at Made by We in New York City) make being green easy.

Ditch disposable to-go cups. For your next coffee run, bring along a collapsible cup by StoJo, a member at WeWork 81 Prospect St in New York. The Pocket Cup, which is made from recyclable materials, keeps your morning joe warm or cold, then stashes in your bag when you’re on the go. $15

Put your best foot forward. All of the cozy socks made by Conscious Step—a member at WeWork 109 S 5th St in New York—support farmers in India and are made sustainably and ethically with organic cotton. And depending on which pair you choose, like these Socks That Plant Trees, you can support a cause, like planting ten trees through nonprofit Trees for the Future. $15.

Follow the sun. These TwiLight solar-powered lights by Solight, a member at WeWork 123 E 23rd St in New York, are pretty genius. They’re lightweight, foldable, and waterproof luminaries, which means they’re perfect for patio parties and camping trips. And the best part? They require no electricity or batteries. $17

Solight, a WeWork member in New York, offers solar-powered lights that are lightweight, foldable, and waterproof.

Bundle up. Save on heating bills (or protect yourself from aggressive office AC temps) with this chic Aria Topaz scarf from member Studio Variously. The cashmere scarf is hand-woven and dyed with chemical-free coloring by artisans in Nepal, and it comes in a natural canvas case—no bubble wrap here!—that you can reuse. $118

Fry right. Many nonstick pans are made with chemicals, but not Green Pan. The Venice Pro frying pan from Green Pan, a member at WeWork 1460 Broadway in New York, is made from upcycled stainless steel and aluminum and a trademarked Thermolon coating. The sand-based finish emits 60 percent less CO2 into the air compared with traditional nonstick coatings. How’s that for green eggs? $99

Drink all day. Make each trip to the water fountain a fun one with the Aurora bottle from S’well, a member at WeWork Medius House in London. Its sleek design makes it a breeze to take anywhere—and keep up with your daily water-intake goals. $32

Be totes amazing. Break your plastic-bag habit for good by toting one of these adorable Utility Canvas bags, available at Made by We. They’re just as handy at the farmers market as they are at the public library—and each one makes a serious style statement, too. $52

Send good word. Sure, email is technically zero-waste, but these pretty cards by member Miks Letterpress are printed on 100-percent-recycled paper and are an old school (and biodegradable) way to say “thank you” to clients, coworkers, and friends. They’re available at Made by We, too. $12

Get buzzed. Al Mokha makes it easy to get your caffeine fix without a guilt trip. Their socially and environmentally conscious beans, grown and harvested in Yemen, are conflict-free and handpicked by farmers who are fairly paid for their work. Try their Yemeni Medium roast for its subtle citrus and cocoa notes. $21.95

Al Mokha makes socially and environmentally conscious beans that are handpicked by farmers who are fairly paid for their work.

Make ’em work. We may be biased, but giving yourself (or a friend) a WeWork membership is a solid way (and is so much more personal than, say, a scented candle) to introduce them to sustainable workplace practices like being single-use-plastic-free, offering only meat-free menus, and committing to being carbon-neutral by 2023. Prices vary.

Photographs by Katelyn Perry / The We Company