- Adam Cheshier
The benefits of biophilic design in the workplace.
In the United States, people spend over 90 percent of their lives in buildings. Biophilia, which is the love of nature and living things, is a concept which links us to the vastness of the world and our natural desire to take care of the hand that feeds us (aka, Earth).
Edward O. Wilson, one of the leaders in the science behind Biophilia which developed several decades ago, coined the term Biophilia and wrote a book with the same name, which is a more in-depth read on the topic. In that book, he stated that there are three staples behind the philosophy:
1. Nature in the Space
2. Natural Analogues
3. Nature of the Space
Although there’s indirect Biophilic experiences that designers can implement throughout a space, we’ll focus on the direct experiences of nature inside an office that benefit human beings:
We refer to the use of natural light in an office space as ‘Daylighting’. When daylight is used as part of an integrated design strategy it can provide substantial energy savings as well as lead to a more upbeat environment.
Most conversations about air quality revolve around outdoor pollutants. Though, if we spend a majority of our time indoors, shouldn’t we start implementing indoor air quality control?
Traditionally, water features are left outside an office space. Though, keeping one inside the workspace tends to lead to better results. The sound and appearance bring about a naturally calming essence.
Greenery is always a nice touch inside an office, but the placement of these plants is even more crucial. Perhaps a living wall in the reception area looks nice, but a living wall which can easily be seen by all employees from their workstation is much more effective.
Animals have always been a source of physical connection that has brought us closer to nature – whether it is an office ‘pet’ or the perception of in-office animals.
Natural landscapes and ecosystems
Everybody wants a corner office with wrap-around windows, but the reality is that it just isn’t possible to provide everyone with inspiring views. However, there are ways to go about this to give everybody the same feeling as an office with a view.
How does Biophilic design increase productivity?
Biophilic experiences can reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance mood and creativity – all of which can lead to increased productivity.
A study titled the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace polled 7,600 employees across 16 countries. The findings demonstrated that:
· People who work in spaces with natural features reported 15% higher levels of overall well-being.
· Respondents expressed feeling 6% more productive and 15% more creative at work with elements of Biophilia.
· 47% of companies don’t have access to natural light, while 58% don’t have any living plants in their work environments.
These findings illustrate that these tactics can be effective and that there is room for improvement around the workplace. Let’s take a look at how to get started implementing your Biophilic workplace strategy.
How coDesign includes biophilic design in their process.
Space planning – Using space strategically in order to incorporate Biophilic design is the best way to get started. However, this takes planning. How and where you incorporate Biophilia is just as important as if you do. At coDesign, we find a ‘sketch-to-reality’ approach which helps filter many options cost-effectively and fast.
Material selection – The build industry is destructive to the environment by nature, but it doesn’t have to be. New consciousness is bringing about a growing list of eco-alternatives to traditional build materials.
Natural features indoors and outdoors – This is one of the hardest parts of biophilia to incorporate. Sometimes, certain real estate and budgets don’t allow for it. CoDesign has professionals which make the most of any space.
Smart lighting – We’ve learned techniques to be able to control and limit artificial lighting to avoid the feeling of artificial environments in our building principles. Read about how coDesign does so here.
Space harmony – When it comes to office build, there are rules of design. Providing harmonic spaces through the right proportion of rooms, furniture, color selection, etc. is as important as other pieces of the process.
Want to read more coDesign curated content? Check out Design and Construction posts.
We truly believe in the wonders of solving challenges through systematic thinking and would love to make your space the best it can be. Reach out to us.