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Does biophilic office design improve productivity?

13 March, 2019

As the workplace advances year on year, we continue to see an increase in the inclusion of biophilic design, with studies proving that staff productivity, morale and creativity have increased in the workplace by including elements of nature and by ‘bringing the outdoors in’. So what is biophilic office design and how can biophilia increase productivity? Here we define biophilic office design, and summarise some of the key benefits.

What is biophilic office design?

With people spending 90% of their time indoors, biophilia (meaning love of nature) focuses on human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes. It suggests that we all have a genetic connection to the natural world built up through hundreds of thousands of years of living in agrarian settings. Biophilic design uses nature as an architectural framework to weave the patterns and forms of nature into the built environment through the use of natural lighting, textures, patterns, and live plants. This is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular in the form of plants, lighting, and living walls, within the office environment where nature is not easily accessible.

What are the benefits of biophilic office design?

Productivity

Studies carried out by Exeter University discovered that staff were 15% more productive with elements of nature introduced to their workspace, compared to employees with minimal contact. There are various factors that contribute to this such as, improved air quality and noise reduction. Staff actively engaging with their environment are likely to be more efficient and more creative individuals.

Creativity

Offices with a variety of flexible working environments are always more pleasant and allow people to be more creative. An environment with a small external connection will only enhance staff creativity. Giving staff access to natural light and including exterior spaces or natural elements inside such as small patios, vertical gardens or vegetation are increasingly popular, and is an excellent way to help boost creativity.

Concentration

Biophilia in the office environment, whether it’s a living wall feature or several plants, will use up carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. An increase in oxygen levels helps to reduce mental tiredness and increase energy levels, leading to improved concentration.

Staff retention

Investing in your workplace is important as the cost of losing a key member of staff or failing to attract top talent can be significant. Giving employees a choice of environments to work in so they can perform at their best, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help retain staff. A well designed office should include creative elements of nature and good access to natural light, creating an environment where employees love to work.

Staff wellbeing

As we have seen, biophilic office design has significant benefits to productivity, creativity and concentration, which in turn will have a positive impact on staff wellbeing. Statistics have shown that ‘bringing the outdoors in’ can help increase focus and wellbeing in the workplace, including small plants, living wall features and indoor trees for larger spaces, creating healthier offices that help to reduce stress. Giving staff the option to work outside gives them another environment to work in, and allows them to access the much needed fresh air, giving them more energy and a sharper mind.


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