What Makes Biophilic Office Design So Powerful?

2018-04-20T17:08:30+00:00December 19th, 2017|Workplace Design, Wellbeing|

Biophilic design, the incorporation of elements of nature in design, is not a new movement. Its influence on interior design spans years and geography. But its power on the office and employees’ emotional wellbeing and stress management is unquestionably prevalent today.

In today’s business world, wellbeing is a competitive advantage. Because of that, leaders everywhere recognize that employee wellbeing and happiness at the workplace goes beyond health benefits. They’re taking steps through office design and company culture to make sure workers are at their best.

What is biophilia?

Biophilic design appeals to our innate need to connect to nature. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends nearly 90 percent of their time inside, and yet, we crave the liveliness and revitalization that happens when we’re outdoors. Without it, we suffer from sensory deprivation which can result in disengagement at the office.

In Japan, the practice of forest bathing, simply being in the presence of trees, is a form of therapy and has numerous health benefits. It’s proven to lower our heart rates and blood pressure, decrease stress, and boost our immune systems. Spending time in nature is renewing and energizing, so when we take inspiration from the outdoors for our office design, we’re targeting that feel-good reaction.

Why does wellbeing matter?

Gallup research finds that workers with high wellbeing perform better. When they’re satisfied in all of Gallup’s five elements of wellbeing, they’re more present at work, are more intellectually stimulated and engaged, and are 81 percent less likely to look for work elsewhere in the next year. Managers and thought leaders recognize wellbeing is a holistic practice integral for collaborative, creative environments. All around, a healthier, happier worker results in higher efficiency and performance and save employers money.

How does office design help?

When the nature of work transformed, employees needed more creative environments where collaboration and innovation could thrive. When you’re spending hours every day in an office, you need comfort, stimulation and engagement. The design and furniture of that space can either help or hurt. With the right workplace design, performance and satisfaction increases and workers prosper. The new office emphasizes posture, materiality, layout and nature.

For example, a study in Europe revolving around adding biophilic elements to the workplace found that 88 percent of workers said their sense of wellbeing improved because of these elements. According to the same Human Spaces report, European workers had a 13 percent increase in wellbeing in spaces with biophilia.

What can you do to bring biophilic design to your space?

  • Offer access to natural light with wide windows.
  • Use texture and patterns that are inspired by nature in your wall decor and materiality.
  • Furnish your office with wooden tables or chairs.
  • Create an organic, earthy color palette with browns, taupes and greens.
  • Bring desk plants inside as table pieces or accessories.
  • Include an indoor water fountain for visual and auditory stimulation.

Looking for help incorporating biophilic design in your space? Schedule a call with our design experts today for free design assistance.