In the past few years, the concept of Biophilic Design has gained popularity and traction within the workplace environment. This concept fuses the calming effects of nature within the busy office environment, offering a myriad of benefits to both businesses and their employees.
Office managers are increasingly seeing the significance of creating an environment which focusses on the wellbeing of their employees in this fast world of busy corporate life.
What is Biophilic Design?
Coined by Edward O Wilson, Biophilic Design is a design philosophy that acknowledges the connection between humans and nature, harnessing nature’s principles to create spaces that foster a sense of well-being, comfort and inspiration.
Biophilic design evolves from the idea of going back to our roots, where humans lived in harmony with nature. Incorporating natural elements such as plants, natural light and natural materials, biophilic design aims to rekindle that age-old connection between people and the environment, regardless of where they are.
The impact of biophilic office design on wellness
Proven to significantly enhance the wellbeing of employees, studies have shown that biophilic office design can result in increased productivity and overall employee satisfaction.
Including natural elements within office spaces offers substantial benefits.
Studies have consistently shown that employees working in biophilic environments experience increased productivity. Including elements of greenery and natural forms, and shapes, can reduce stress and anxiety. This results in increased focus and a more positive working environment.
Improved Concentration Levels
Biophilic design can be used to combat mental fatigue and achieve greater attention spans. It has been proven that employees surrounded by natural elements are more likely to be able to better concentrate on tasks, leading to higher quality work and fewer errors.
It is with no doubt that nature has an unrivalled ability to inspire creativity. By incorporating biophilic elements, employee’s imagination and problem-solving skills can be stimulated, fostering an innovative and dynamic work environment.
Enhanced Staff Wellbeing
Employee well-being should be a top priority for any organisation. Studies on Biophilic Office Design have been shown to prove that applying biophilic principles can reduce absenteeism, boost morale, and improve overall health and happiness among employees.
Greater Staff Retention
Happy and satisfied employees are more likely to stay with a company for a substantially longer time period. Biophilic design promotes positive and nurturing work environments, achieving higher staff retention rates and reduced turnover costs.
“There are multiple ways to include biophilia within your space. Many people opt for plants as this provides a direct connection to nature and remind us of growth and development. Spending time in nature you will notice the sprouting of a new plant or large leaves and flowers. This natural process is something that we can replicate indoors to remind ourselves and reinforce our connection to nature.“
Ashlea Swallow, Designer.
Implementing Biophilic Design in the workplace
If you are an office manager and are looking to incorporate biophilic design into your workspace, here are some practical tips to get started.
Strategically place plants and greenery throughout the office environment. Consider incorporating elements such as vertical living walls, potted plants or hanging planters to bring nature close to employee’s desks.
Natural light optimisation
Maximise natural light as much as possible, by arranging workspaces near windows. Reduce the reliance on artificial lighting during the day, allowing employees to take advantage of natural light available.
Nature-inspired art and graphics
Decorate office walls with artwork depicting scenes from nature. Nature-inspired graphics and imagery can be used to create a sense of calmness and act as conversation starters, improving the connection between humans and nature.
Break-out areas with natural elements
Create designated zonal breakout areas with comfortable seating and natural elements such as indoor water features, natural materials, and soft textures. These areas can serve as wellbeing and break-out spaces for employees during breaks, leaving staff refreshed and energised.
Natural materials and textures
Utilise natural materials such as wood, stone and bamboo into office furnishings and décor, to add an organic touch, whilst contributing to sustainability as well.
Exubia Case Study
Here at Exubia we have witnessed how biophilic design can truly transform office spaces.
Our extensive range of office plants have been shown to improve employee well-being and productivity.
The Exubia team collaborated closely with designers to integrate plants and planters seamlessly into a multi-floor commercial space. The challenge was to tailor the planting to the individual themes of each floor while coordinating with the fit-out contractor to incorporate intricate joinery elements. The project aimed to feature a distinctive tree on each floor, encompassing an array of types such as faux, live, joinery, ceiling, exterior, table tops, and bespoke trees.
The project was impacted by the sudden onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, necessitating a mid-course overhaul of the project plans. The need for a full redesign was an unexpected challenge that put the timeline and overall vision at risk.
Despite the setback, Exubia strategically reallocated existing plants to align with the floor-specific themes, retaining the project’s unique vision. Addressing the issue of low light levels, we implemented innovative lighting solutions to ensure the vitality of the indoor landscapes.
Through persistent communication and meticulous coordination, we managed to achieve our objectives, providing a diverse range of trees and plants on each floor while successfully navigating the hurdles posed by the pandemic.
“As humans we have a deep association with the natural world which in recent times, we seem to have forgotten. Biophilic design intends to reignite that by integrating nature within everyday spaces.”
By implementing biophilic design in office spaces, the impact can be significant on employee well-being and workplace productivity. The incorporation of natural elements can result in improved concentration, creativity, and overall job satisfaction, ultimately benefiting the company’s bottom line. As office managers, it is important to prioritise the well-being of employees and biophilic design is an excellent and sustainable approach to achieving this goal.
If you are an office manager looking to transform your workspace into a thriving and productive environment where employees flourish, reach out to Exubia today.
Our team of qualified project consultants will help you throughout the process of implementing biophilic design and create an office space for you, that inspires your employees, resulting in a greener, healthier and more productive workspace.