biopilic design 1 photo

Employees benefit from taking vacation, often returning refreshed after spending some time at the beach, on a lake or surrounded by scenic views. Why is this the case? In part, it’s because they spent time in the great outdoors, which can lead to higher levels of health and happiness. Biophilic design is intended to bring those same aspects of the natural environment into your office space.

It stands to reason that these aspects would benefit an office environment greatly, seeing as these natural elements can improve blood flow, heart rate and stress levels. With the amount of time employees spend at the office, creating an enjoyable space is be an easy choice for employers. Not only is this great for their wellbeing, but it also helps with overall retention. If someone feels at ease at work, they will be happier to be there every day and perform at a higher level.

The benefits of biophilic design in the workplace are apparent, but how does one apply it in an office environment? Below are 5 ways to incorporate biophilic design in your office setting.

plant photo1. Add greenery and plant life.
It’s simplistic to say creating a biophilic space simply requires adding a few plants, but it is a key part of the concept. By bringing living things into the indoor workspace, a visual connection with nature can be made. Moss and living walls have become an extremely popular choice, but it is not the only option. Mimicking the way plants are seen in nature, sporadically and in random locations, is a wonderful way to implement biophilic design. Additionally, research shows that as few as one plant for every three employees can reduce CO2 levels by 20%.


2. Provide natural sunlight.

Seating employees as close as possible to natural sunlight is important in biophilic design, as diffused lighting allows for a connection to nature. Having access to viewing the rising and setting of the sun is part of a healthy circadian rhythm, which dictates sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and more. Access to daylight benefits engagement and productivity in employees as well.

3. Incorporate patterns found in nature.
Nature is full of beautiful shapes and forms – think of honeycombs, wood, the veins of a leaf or, marble, or stone. Bringing these into a workplace through decorations, such as furniture details or woodwork, creates a visually preferred environment that enhances cognitive performance. By helping to simulate an outdoor experience, you can maximize on that connection to nature.


4. Include furniture with organic shapes or textures.
Furniture plays a large role in office design and can make or break the ambiance in a space. Plastic, metal and generic fabrics are favored in many workplaces, however when following biophilic design, these are not the best options. Warm wood, cork, rattan or leather all conjure a natural texture, making them ideal choices.

5. Create work zones for different purposes.
Open offices are a wonderful way to foster a sense of openness and transparency. However, it can be beneficial to include zones for different purposes to help hone in on feelings in each space. For example, having private focus nooks with diffused lighting, low ceilings and visual reminders of the outdoors can be beneficial for employees who need time alone. Even better, if your office has outdoor space available, it can be a great opportunity to provide a relaxing area to take a break.

There are a variety of ways that you can bring biophilic design into a workplace, but not all elements will work for every space. Keep in mind your brand and values and ensure you are considering how these biophilic design elements will fit in with your current company culture. By understanding the goals of this design style, you can create a positive environment for employees, customers and visitors alike.