What is biophilic office design?
What is biophilic office design?
You’ve heard the arguments for nature versus nurture, well biophilic office design is an emerging design concept that brings nature and nurture together – in the workplace. It’s a trend that’s really starting to blossom and we’ve been watching it with interest. Now that it is really starting to gain some traction we thought it was time we introduced it to you. Biophilic office design is the concept of bringing aspects of nature into the workplace, to help organisations nurture their employees. Understandably why and how are the biggest questions associated with this new trend, so without further ado, let’s dig a little deeper.
Before we look at how you can introduce biophilia into your workplace, let’s focus our attention on what it is and how it has evolved into one of the fastest growing office trends this side of the millennium.
Where are biophilia’s roots?
It shouldn’t come as news to you that as humans we thrive in certain environments and are hindered by others. Obviously every individual has their own personal preferences – some people prefer clutter over tidy; others prefer noise and music over peace and quiet; and some people favour a cooler temperature over a warmer environment. Each to their own.
But one thing agreed upon is that humans feel a universal connection to the natural world. Why? Because it’s good for us and that’s been scientifically proven over and over again.
Take natural light as just one example. Natural light improves our eyesight whereas artificial or dim lighting can be harmful to our eyes and can cause migraines. Exposure to natural light during the day helps us sleep better at night and provides our bodies with essential vitamin D. Enduring lengthy periods without daylight has also been proven to increase the risk of mental health issues, such as seasonal affective disorder and depression.
Exposure to nature has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. The sights, sounds, smells and textures associated with nature are acknowledged as being relaxing and pleasurable. And when you’re relaxed and happy at work, then you are also going to be more motivated, productive and creative. You’re also less likely to take time off sick and your ability to focus and concentrate increases.
Biophilic design capitalises on all these benefits by bringing elements of nature into the office. Like all office design, how far you take the concept depends entirely on your business, your brand and your budget. You may decide you want to turn your entire office into a mini Eden project. Fill your wellie boots we say! But if you don’t want to go quite that far, but would like to introduce some natural elements into your workplace, then here are some design ideas that are easy to incorporate:
Connect with the outdoors
Obviously the most powerful way to encourage your employees to connect with the outdoors is to maximise use of any outside space that you’ve got. If you’re fortunate enough to have outside space, then we’d strongly suggest that you encourage your employees to make use of it – whether that’s simply by providing tables and chairs to eat al fresco, or going a bit further and installing furniture so that colleagues can enjoy breakout sessions and collaborative meetings outside. Ponds and water features can be incredibly relaxing, as can pottering amongst raised flower beds. Why not get your employees involved in tending to your plants or fish?
Introduce natural elements
Steering your office interior away from a corporate and clinical vibe by introducing natural finishes and textures is a great way to bring elements of the outside in. Furniture and surfaces made of slate, stone and natural wood or even installing indoor water features, will really lighten the atmosphere.
One of the easiest ways of introducing biophilic elements is of course through plants. By all means invest in a few more desk plants and planters, but what about going one step further and creating a living wall? A living wall made of plants or moss will not only be an incredible feature, it will also help
Incorporate natural light
We’ve already discussed the benefits of natural light, which is why we strongly recommend that you reconfigure your office design and layout in order to maximise the flow of natural light. Replacing partitions and individual meeting rooms with meeting pods will let more natural light flow through.
Embracing nature and capitalising on the many mental and physical health benefits it brings is certainly worth further investigation. We’ve got plenty of design ideas up our sleeves and at the ends of our green fingers, so why not give us a call and see how we can convert your office into a biophilic Eden.