“Essentially, biophilia is changing the way we work, live and operate within the built environment, and can be defined as “humanity’s innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment” according to Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius.
As we become more aware of our health in all areas of life – people are eating much healthier diets, exercising more and are more aware of their mental health – it’s unsurprising that we have become more conscious of our experiences at work and how the place that we work in every day affects us.
So what do we think when we hear biophilia? It is a common misconception that it just means the addition of trees, flowers, shrubs and/or any other plants into your office, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Biophilia is the incorporation of nature into a workspace to create the perfect office environment! So, yes, if you want to keep it simple you can include more plants into your workspace. But it also encompasses the idea that certain paint colours can inspire creativity and productivity in people, thus creating better quality work. It is so much more than simply putting a ficus in the corner and saying you work in a biophilic office on LinkedIn.
Some of the reasons behind this new trend are fascinating. In our evolutionary journey as human beings, we spent a huge proportion of our time outside, living in nature. So, it’s no wonder that we struggle to excel in dark, indoor, bland offices with no natural light or air. Our bodies thrive in nature because it is where we are meant to be. So by allowing your staff more space to work outside, or bringing the outside indoors, we yield great creative and productive results.
Now, that I have your interest, let’s look at the ways you can incorporate biophilia into your workspace.
Yes, you can start small with the addition of a few plants dotted around. Or you can go all out and install a green wall and turn the office into a jungle. All in the name of wellness! If you work from home and want to implement this philosophy into your personal office, this is a great one for you. The inclusion of plants in any space can increase the oxygen levels and decrease mental fatigue, meaning the 3pm slump could well be a thing of the past!
As I have already mentioned, something as simple as a change of colour to the office walls can make a difference to your employees’ wellbeing. According to the psychology of colour theory, different colours can determine and influence human behaviour. For example, orange encourages confidence and innovation and yellow can influence a person’s creativity. It is also so much nicer to have a bright colour to look at rather than magnolia. And if something as simple as this can have a positive effect on your employees, why wouldn’t you give it a go?
Space is a vital part of the biophilic design philosophy. A cramped, dark office is no way to inspire people. If your staff want to have to go somewhere to concentrate, allow them the quiet, private space to do so. If they want to collaborate, make sure there is somewhere for that too. You can easily create open spaces and smaller nooks and offices for concentration while keeping the ‘open-plan’ feel by using glass partitions. We have created thousands of one-off beautiful designs for offices that are tailored perfectly to their needs.
If you are interested in biophilic design for your office, these are just a few of the key ideas that you could implement in your workplace. Wellbeing at work is becoming more and more prominent and doesn’t seem to be a trend that is going to just fade into the background. These techniques are tried and tested and numerous studies have proven that by introducing elements of nature into the workplace, staff productivity, moral and creativity all increase.
The question is simple: do you want a workforce which feels less fatigued and stressed? Then maybe it’s time you gave biophilic design a try in your office!