Office design trends

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​Biophilic office design: A growing trend

Biophilic office design, the creation of a natural environment within the workplace, has taken the office interior industry by storm. With a growing number of companies incorporating natural elements into the workplace - biophilic design can be seen everywhere!

So what is Biophilic design?

Biophilia is a scientific field of research that suggests a connection between humans and their natural surroundings.A hypothesis first proposed by American Biologist E.O. Wilson in the 1980's defines biophilia as,'the innate tendency (in human beings) to focus on life and lifelike process."

As humans, we have evolved over time in response to our natural surroundings, adapting to changing climates and developing environments. Despite the migration into more urbanised surroundings we still possess a subconscious impulsion to affiliate ourselves with nature and the larger ecosystem we belong to.

However, over the years we have gradually become disconnected from nature, often being confined within the clinical walls of the workplace, where greenery and even day light is nowhere to be seen. This disconnection has had both a physical and physiological effect on workers, leading to a negative impact on job performance, wellbeing and overall productivity in the workplace.

With 130 million days being lost every year to sickness absence and costing the economy £100 Billion each year – employee health and wellbeing is more of a priority than ever.

So how can Biophilic office design help?

Biophilia can have a positive influence when used in the workplace and has proved effective in lowering staff turnover and sickness rate by significantly reducing both anxiety and stress levels. This is done in a number of ways…

Air quality…

The use of indoor plants in the work place can vastly improve air quality by creating higher levels of oxygen and reducing levels of Co2. This can improve energy levels within the office and as a result improve concentration. As well as the increase in oxygen, indoor plants also have air filtering qualities that remove impurities from the air making the office a much healthier place to be.

Office Acoustics

Office Acoustics…

Office noise is a common problem in the modern office, with as many as 80% of workers complaining that they are distracted by it. Research proves that indoor plants can provide an acoustic solution to this by absorbing and softening background noise and dampening reverberations that would normally bounce off of flat surfaces.

Green for creativity…

The colour green is most commonly associated with the promotion of innovation and creativity in employees, using shades of green around the office can help spark new ideas and keep staff engaged.

Let there be light…

Natural light is often overlooked when it comes to increasing wellbeing in a workplace. Something as simple as making sure there is enough natural light available in a building can have a drastic effect on employees. Sunlight contains vital vitamins essential to our health. By creating an environment perfect for plants you are also providing the perfect environment for a healthy, happy employee.

The proof is in the plant…

A recent study by virtual forum Human Spaces found that from a sample of 7,600 workers across 16 countries workers in offices that offered green or natural features had a 15% higher sense of wellbeing and were 6% more productive. It has also been found that a potential employee is 33.33% more likely to want to work somewhere that contains natural elements.

Have you considered using Biophilic office design in your workplace?

For tips on how to incorporate nature into the workplace keep an eye out for our next blog where we will discuss applying Biophilia and provide you with ideas for your office!

In the meantime take a look at our Pinterest board for design inspiration.

Thanks for reading!

The Active team