What is Biophilic Office design?
Biophilia is a love of life and the living world; the affinity of human beings for other life forms. A Latin word, with an origin dating back to 1984. The philosophy is based on the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms.” Biophilic Office design follows these principals, with these core values, are critical to the evolution of life in the universe and this has a growing place in workplaces.
The Benefits of a Biophilic Office Design
Biophilic office design aims to incorporate elements of nature into our indoor surroundings. It’s based on biologist Edward O. Wilson’s theory that humans have an affinity with the natural world—you can read more about the specific aspects of biophilic office design in our blog post here.
The benefits of incorporating nature into the workplace
You might be wondering why you should go to the effort and expense of including nature-based principles into your workplace design. It’s not an effort and the expense is negligible compared to the benefits…To help you weigh up the pros and cons, we’ve uncovered some research that discusses the results of bringing the outdoors indoors. Take a look:
A positive impact on employee mood and well-being
Introducing biophilic design principles into the office isn’t just about having a more attractive workplace. Research has shown keeping plants in the office can lower feelings of tension and anxiety by up to 37%.
These benefits are in part a physical response to the world around us. Allowing as much natural light into the office as possible increases melatonin and makes people feel physically and psychologically better. Plants can also make us feel more alert due to reduced carbon dioxide levels. Additionally, symptoms associated with artificial light like headaches or coughing from poor air quality are alleviated by utilising biophilic design principles.
A natural boost in productivity
When employees have a greater sense of well-being, it’s not surprising that productivity can benefit. In fact, a UK based study found that workers who had contact with nature were 15% more productive (‘The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean Office Space’). Other research revealed that including green accents in offices can boost motivation, enthusiasm and productivity.
Thinking green can improve focus
Staff Focus is another area that can improve as a result of biophilic office design. With increased levels of oxygen due to plant life, concentration levels increase and in turn, mental fatigue diminishes. This ties in with the improved productivity we’ve already mentioned above.
Rather than holding your next brainstorming session in a cramped meeting room with fluorescent lighting and no access to natural light, you might want to consider using biophilic design to boost staff creativity. Aspects such as colour schemes, the use of natural materials, access to natural light, and attractive greenery, have all been shown to have a positive impact on creativity in the workplace.
With increased productivity and employee well-being, a longer-term benefit of the biophilic design is that staff retention improves. It’s logical when staff are happier in the workplace and an office is a place they enjoy being, they are less likely to leave.
Simple steps to incorporate biophilic elements in the workplace
Not everyone is in the market (or has the budget) for a completely new office fitout, but there are opportunities to incorporate biophilic design in all workplaces. Whether it’s a small change like updating the art selection in your building or introducing some more greenery, the biophilic design aims to integrate not interrupt. True to its name, a good biophilic design should feel natural.
While it might be easy to dismiss biophilic design as a trend in office design or a passing fad, it’s likely the concept is here to stay. It’s good news on all levels – not only will workplaces become more attractive to the eye, but they’ll also be more enjoyable places to work.