In today's world, the modern workspace is rapidly evolving, with a growing emphasis on creating environments that are not only functional but also enhance the health and well-being of employees. As people spend a significant portion of their time in the workplace, it's important to create environments that support and nurture this. Biophilic design has become an increasingly important part of building workplaces that demonstrate this approach.
As the modern workforce experiences increasing stress levels, burnout, and other health issues, many employers are looking at ways to tackle this and create a happy workplace their staff want to be part of. Integrating biophilic design into the workspace as we know it, is a tried and tested way to improve employee health and well-being, boost productivity and creativity, and create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly environment.
Let’s take a further look at what biophilic design is and how we can use it to create a positive and beneficial working environment.
Biophilic design is a concept that seeks to bring elements of nature into the built environment. The idea is based on the premise that humans have a deep-rooted connection to nature and that incorporating elements of nature into our built environment can improve our physical and mental health.
Some of the key elements of this include the use of natural light, plants and greenery, natural materials, indoor and outdoor spaces, water features and biomorphic shapes and patterns, which we will explore further in this article.
There are several benefits of biophilic design that have been linked to creating a happier and healthier workplace; these include:
Improved Physical and Mental Health: The integration of biophilic design into the workplace has been shown to improve physical and mental health. Incorporating elements of nature into the built environment can reduce stress, improve sleep, boost mood, and enhance cognitive function.
Increased Productivity and Creativity: The use of natural light and the incorporation of plants and greenery into the workplace can improve focus and productivity, as well as enhance creativity and problem-solving skills.
Enhanced Well-being and Happiness: Biophilic design has the potential to improve employee well-being and happiness, creating a more positive and supportive work environment.
Better Indoor Air Quality: Bringing plants and greenery into the workplace can improve indoor air quality, reducing levels of pollutants and allergens and enhancing overall health and well-being.
Improved Sustainability: Biophilic design can help create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly workplace, incorporating eco friendly materials and practices, such as water conservation and energy-efficient lighting. This not only benefits the environment but also supports the health and well-being of employees.
Here are some of the main elements you can expect to find in workplaces that have been created with biophilic design in mind.
Natural light and views of nature: Bringing natural light into the built environment is a key aspect of biophilic design. Using natural light can improve employee well-being, reduce stress, and help regulate the body's natural circadian rhythms. Incorporating natural light into the workplace and providing views of nature through windows or skylights can also improve mood and enhance cognitive function.
Plants and greenery: Incorporating plants and greenery into the workplace is known to improve air quality, reduce stress, and create a more relaxed environment for employees.
Natural materials: The use of raw materials, such as wood, stone, and bamboo, can help create a connection to nature and reduce stress.
Indoor and outdoor spaces: Creating indoor and outdoor areas that connect with nature, such as rooftop gardens, green walls, and outdoor terraces, can improve employee well-being, boost productivity, and enhance the overall workplace environment.
Water features: Adding water features, such as indoor fountains or waterfalls, can provide a calming, soothing environment to aid focus.
Biomorphic shapes and patterns: Incorporating organic shapes and patterns inspired by nature into the workplace design, such as curved walls and natural graphics, can help create a sense of connection to the natural world.
Green Roofs: Green roofs, or vegetated roofs, are a type of biophilic design that incorporate plants and greenery into the roof of a building. Green roofs improve air quality, reduce stress, and enhance the working environment with a sense of calm.
In an ideal world, we would all like to be able to incorporate all of the above into a new workspace, but in reality, a complete redesign isn’t always possible and when it is, there are space constraints to consider.
The good news is that there are a few quick wins and budget-friendly approaches to be able to bring elements of biophilic design into your space without the need for a new fit out. These can include simple things like introducing planting or encouraging employees to keep desk plants.
Creating a green wall is another great way to incorporate biophilic design into your workplace while keeping it up to date with the latest trends. These on-trend moss walls, often known as ‘living walls’, provide the built environment with the benefits that greeny in the workplace brings, alongside a powerful design statement, making the most of any space. If maintenance is a concern, a replica green wall can also give the illusion of planting and create some of the relaxing benefits of greenery without having to maintain it.
If you're interested in incorporating biophilic design into your workplace, start by considering your budget, the layout of your space, and the needs of your employees. With the right planning and design, you can create a biophilic workplace that benefits everyone.
A planting service like Plant Plan, which specialises in corporate horticulture, can assist with this and help you bring the benefits of greenery into your workplace with specialist design, installation and maintenance services. Plant Plan are experts in planting and biophilic design, having been in operation for over 40 years and watching it grow from strength to strength over time.
As we’ve seen here, the positives of biophilic design are many and varied and as its recognition grows, biophilic design will have a significant impact on the future of architecture and design as we know it. Biophilic design is becoming an increasingly important aspect of creating happy and healthier workplaces that people want to be part of. As more people understand the benefits of incorporating nature into the built environment and reap its rewards, biophilic design will continue to prove a popular feature of creating a positive and health focussed workplace.