Our work environment impacts how we feel, how we perform, and how we interact with others. In order to enhance the office environment, many companies are tapping into our love of nature. The innate human tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life is also known as biophilia.
Incorporating biophilic design into any home or office environment doesn’t only improve work performance, it can also improve employee satisfaction and well-being. In fact, “incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have [sic] been demonstrated to reduce stress, blood pressure levels, and heart rates.”
To help you bring biophilic design into your work environment, we’ll dive into 3 simple ways you can do so for the benefit of yourself, your employees, and guests.
Adding plants to a home or office is one of the easiest ways to incorporate biophilic design. They’re reported to help to reduce stress and increase productivity, and they bring color and texture to any space. Purchase plants of various heights and sizes and be sure to create a watering plan. If it’s in your budget, you can even hire a firm to take care of all your plants.
Or try an easy-to-mount moss installation or living wall – a wall that is partially covered with plants. A great way to incorporate nature, living walls can be found that are self-sustaining and very low maintenance. In addition to being an eye-catching design feature, they also improve acoustics.
Finally, if live plants aren’t an option for your workspace, keep in mind that even artificial plants and other elements of nature can have a similar effect on health and performance.
Bring in Natural Light
Light can have a significant impact on our well-being, including the ability to reduce stress, depression, and illness. As such, if you’re able to bring in more natural light, seize the opportunity. If not, you can integrate lighting that changes throughout the day to mimic circadian rhythms, which can help us stay on track with our natural 24-hour cycle. In addition, natural lighting, or warm lighting, also enhances visual comfort versus artificial lighting, which can cause eye strain and fatigue.
Add Color and Texture
Use colors and textures that are inspired by nature when painting or selecting artwork for your workspace. Symbolic references to nature through contoured, patterned, or textured artwork elicit a positive response from people in the space. At the same time, adding bright colors to a space with paint, pots, or other accessories can also improve mood and well-being. Using materials and elements from the local ecology helps us connect to our surroundings and creates a sense of place.
In any case, research shows that even a few small biophilic elements can improve well-being and happiness. Given that we spend a great deal of time indoors, it’s not a bad idea to find ways that we can better connect with nature, even at work.