Spring is in the Air (allegedly) Bring the Outside Inside…
Have you heard of Biophilic Design? Probably not, but when you find out, you will wish that your workplace was embracing it! Only a very small percentage of offices are incorporating biophilic design and after reading this short article you will realise that this needs to change.
So, what is biophilic design?
Humans have an innate attraction to nature. Called biophilia, it’s not only instinctive but also healthy. When humans connect with nature it has been shown to reduce stress, enhance creativity and improve wellbeing. Biophilic design is a means of achieving this in spaces where nature wouldn’t otherwise be available e.g your office or workplace. It introduces nature either real or mimicked to counteract the stresses of the manmade and built up environment.
What type of things can you do in order to achieve biophilic design in an office space?
There are a variety of things that can be done on a large scale or smaller scale. You could consider incorporating bright colours, A view of the sea (pretty hard ask of all workspaces so nature or green spaces will do just fine), offer a quiet working space (open plan working spaces are becoming the norm but a quiet space is important in biophilic design), place around the workspace indoor plants or greenery and make sure that natural light is available through windows or doors. If you want to take biophilic design even further you might want to think about ‘green walls’ (walls completely covered in greenery, just like one you might have seen at a 5 star luxury hotel), timber cladding and using sounds that mimic nature.
We know that humans have an innate attraction to nature, this design helps us with our overall sense of well-being and health in the space, both physically and mentally. So if your employees are happy, then what does that mean for you the business owner? Increased productivity, increased creativity and better overall health of your staff, meaning less sick days and a happier workforce. Most companies strive to increase their employees productivity and creativity to gain competitive advantage, and the environment that we work indirectly impacts the way that we work. This means that biophilic design could put your business ahead of competitors!
Renowned architectural and interior designer Oliver Heath is a biophilic design consultant. He describes the approach as deliberately “human-centred”, creating workspaces that make employees feel happy and valued at work, as well as making them more creative and productive. He says there are many who see its value. Some examples of companies who use biophilic design are, Apple, Google and Amazon. All of these companies invest heavily in biophilic elements. The success of these companies could be the motivation to take your office space to new levels with the help of biophilic design. Biophilic design isn’t about persuading people to spend even longer at their desks. It can actually encourage movement, by creating different ‘zones’. Oliver explains: “It’s about creating a flexible series of spaces. Sometimes you need to work at a desk, be alone and concentrate. But then you might want to interact with social media, or collaborate with colleagues.”
Let’s have a look toward the evidence on biophilic design. Based on decades of research, it has solid evidence to support its usage. A recent study of 7,600 office workers across 16 countries found that workspaces with biophilic elements were six per cent more productive, had 15 percent higher levels of self-reported well-being and were 15 percent more creative.
Biophilic design might be just the pick-me-up you need in your workplace, go for it and see what nature can do for you!