Biophilic design is one of the hottest trends in the workplace right now. If you have been inside a newly designed office recently there is a good chance you saw a handful of biophilic elements, whether you recognized it or not.
Biophilic design incorporates natual elements into the layout of a building and brings with it an array of benefits to those inside. When most people think about this, the first thing they envision is likely an assortment of houseplants placed around a room, but it can be taken much farther than that. Design aspects from windows to the décor on the walls to the finishes on the furniture can work to connect us with nature when we are indoors.
The team here at Office Interiors recently moved into a brand-new building, and we strove to incorporate as much biophilic design into our new workplace as we could. Erin Doyle, design and sales consultant, led the initiative to bring nature into our office.
Here is what she had to say about the process.
Why did we decide to incorporate biophilic design in the first place?
“There are multiple reasons why every office should embrace biophilic design,” Erin said.
For starters, it is well documented that bringing nature into the workplace is important for employee well-being. Increased concentration, creativity, productivity, and lowered stress levels are just some of the benefits.
A nice, bright office full of natural décor is also much more welcoming and inviting to incoming clients than a dark, bland, or aggressively designed office.
The biggest reason for this initiative, however, was that it was what employees wanted. “When surveyed about what they wanted to see in the new office, two of the top responses were increased natural lighting and more greenery,” Erin Explained. It has been said that everyone is hard-wired to love nature and it was not surprising when the team said they wanted more of it! It is definitely safe to assume that adding some biophilic touches to your workspace will be appreciated by everyone.
So with the decision made…
What did we do?
“Natural lighting was the biggest goal,” Erin said, and it is clear to see that it was achieved. While our old office had almost no windows, the new office is covered in them. There isn’t a single workspace that doesn’t have a view outside. Large floor to ceiling windows in the showroom also create a welcoming environment for customers.
Living plants were incorporated wherever they could be, around reception, along the walls, and by the workstations. Natural décor was not limited to living things that could be brought inside though. As Erin Explained, “mimicry is another effective method to bring nature indoors”. Looking around the office, you will see calming neutral tones, wood finishes, and even preserved moss decorations on the walls.
If you can’t actually bring nature indoors, mimicking it is the next best thing!
“Even the parking lot plays a role. Trees, flowers, and rocks around the perimeter of the parking lot provide natural scenery when looking out the windows.” Paired with our proximity to the water, it provides a much nicer view than just city buildings.
Has there been a difference since moving?
Walking through the two buildings, it is easy to see the difference in atmospheres, especially from the lighting, and Erin says that she has noticed it too. “The old workplace had few windows to let in natural light and relying on artificial lighting created a harsher environment. As soon as you walk into the new office it feels brighter and livelier.” Employees all agree that that this makes them feel much better at work.
Another thing that workers our team comments on is the openness of the office. The building follows an open concept, making it feel spacious and encouraging natural interactions between people, unlike the small rooms and narrow corridors of the old office.
Overall, it is hard to find someone with something negative to say about the place our new office. Everyone has been thoroughly impressed, and even a month after moving in you can still hear comments about the office being made in the lunchroom people making comments about the office in the lunchroom. If you need an indicator of how the space is impacting employees, there it is!
What should our readers do if they are interested in biophilic design?
“The first step if you are thinking about making changes of any kind to your workplace is to talk to your coworkers,” Erin told me. Office Interiors’ new biophilic office came as a result of surveying workers about what they wanted to see in their new workplace. It is clear to see how much the natural lighting in the new office is positively affecting everyone’s morale, and without our survey we wouldn’t have known that is what people wanted the most.
“The next step is to do your research. Look up possible ways to incorporate biophilic design into the space you are working with, and the benefits they will have.” If you have a specific outcome you want, look up how to achieve it; there is definitely a way! For instance, if you want to create a calming environment, consider painting your walls blue. If you want to boost creativity, yellow is the way to go.
If you are interested in more information or want to dive deeper into what can be done with your specific workspace, talk to a designer! An interior design specialist will be able to give you lots of information on techniques that will work with your space.
Have questions for us? Whether you have your space planned out and need some furniture, or you are just taking the first steps toward a biophilic office and need some more information, reach out to us and we will be glad to help you out!
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