Without wanting to go too far into the whole history of evolution, one key element is essential if you want to understand the concept of biophilic design: the urban environment is still relatively recent and humanity has spent the vast majority of its existence in the natural world.
In short, after hundreds of thousands of years, we’re hard-wired to respond better when we have the sights, sounds and even smells of nature around us.
Recent research shows that walking in a green space can reduce blood pressure, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, alleviate anxiety and a lot more. And while it may be impractical to relocate the average office to the middle of a country park or a forest, it is possible to bring some of the elements of that environment into the workplace so that those working there can enjoy some of the associated benefits.
The theory behind biophilic design, then, is that by incorporating the natural world into our offices, we place the health and wellbeing of our staff at the centre of what we do and get a more productive team as a result.
Probably the first thing most people will consider when it comes to bringing the natural world into the office is the addition of plants. The benefits of having plants in the home and office have, after all, been well documented. And while plants are indeed essential, they’re a long way from being the whole story.
Other elements that need to be considered when adopting biophilic design into your workplace include:
This is just a taste of what goes into biophilic design in the office – all elements of the workspace need to be considered to create the right kind of environment.
We’ve come a long way from those old offices where a supervisor would watch over rows of desks populated by sullen, silent workers. What we know now is that you’re far more likely to get a good day’s work out of someone who feels happy and comfortable in their workplace.
Using biophilic design in the office has been shown to increase productivity, creativity and a sense of wellbeing in workers, while also reducing absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e. turning up for work and being unproductive because of illness).
It has had benefits in other businesses and workplaces as well, including: quicker recovery times and reduced pain medication in healthcare; guests willing to pay higher rates in hotels; and improved test results and attendance and reduced impact of ADHD in education.
environment. If you would like to know more about biophilic design and how we can bring the concept into your business, get in touch with us today.
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