It is an exciting time in the history of workplace design, a time in which new researches are enabling us to make informed choices to improve our experience of the work environment. ‘Biophilia’ is one such scientific field of research which talks about the human connection with nature and its effects on our health and well-being. A practical manifestation of this study of biophilia at the built environment is termed as biophilic design. When applied to office spaces, it involves modifying indoors by including more of nature, to maintain a connection with the natural environment. The best examples of biophilic designs can be witnessed at Google’s ‘Googleplex’ and the Apple campus at ‘1 Infinite Loop’. Many modern offices already imbibe the principles of biophilia by placing simple potted plants on or near employee workstation desk and erecting vertical gardens on selected office walls. As workplaces evolve, the biophilic design has begun to gain prominence, with employers realizing the resultant benefits such as reductions in staff stress levels and consequently absenteeism.
In today’s classy, glass & concrete offices, people are increasingly deprived of the natural surroundings, while it is more often the case that they find natural settings particularly appealing and aesthetically pleasing. Biophilic designs work by mimicking these natural environments within the workplace to infuse positive emotional experiences. Since we don’t take enough time to immerse ourselves in nature, it makes it even more vital for us to incorporate nature into our work environments. But, what does biophilic office design entail and what are the benefits?
What exactly is a Biophilic design?
Biophilic office design mainly refers to bringing the outdoors indoors, or more accurately into the workplace. It includes bringing abundant natural light into the office and introducing plants in the workplace. Many beautiful succulents can efficiently break the monotony of serious board meetings by simply sitting on your conference table; Incorporating natural features like wood and stone - keeping them on your desk or the meeting table works like a charm! The driving hypothesis behind the biophilic design is simple — incorporating human access to nature into our built environment. This can greatly improve our health and happiness.
Impact of Biophilic designs on employees
Research has shown that having access to various natural elements at work can have a positive impact on the individual employee. An office desk surrounded by bits of nature makes you feel relaxed, and this feeling often leads to productivity. A UK based study titled ‘The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean office Space’ found that workers exposed more to nature were 15% more productive, compared to those with minimal contact. More nature means better air quality, a greater sense of wellbeing, improved concentration levels and/or a greater choice of work settings, including outdoor areas. They increase oxygen levels in the workplace which in turn, decreases mental fatigue and increases concentration levels and overall productivity.
An environment devoid of nature may create discord and can hurt health and well-being. For organizations who aim to lead and compete for the most valuable employees, biophilic design can create a clear point of difference. If you are looking for designing your office spaces or a makeover of an existing one, contact HNI India - World’s leading manufacturer for collaborative office furniture, office table and chair set, and ergonomic workspaces.