In an urban world of technology and industrial architecture, our fundamental connection to the natural world can sometimes feel all but lost. Biophilic office design is an innovative way to bring the outdoors into the workplace to positively affect the way we feel, work and create; design that connects us to nature is proven to inspire us, boost our productivity and even contribute to a stronger sense of well-being.
As mindfulness, workplace wellbeing and staff retention become increasingly important for many companies, the proven positive effects that nature can have on over-all
health must be an integral consideration when designing workspaces.
This is particularly important in the corporate office, where resulting ill-health and loss of efficiency can contribute to poor performance and increased costs from work-related stress and absenteeism. Not every space can be designed to include all the principles of biophilic design, but the rejuvenating qualities of nature can be replicated in numerous ways – introducing vegetation, including natural wood and stone finishes, providing access to natural light and nature views or through glass partitioning and living walls (a great example is the large moss wall featured in the Sir Alexander Stone building in our recent University of Glasgow project).
There is a direct correlation between clever work space design and improved employee mood and performance. Even simple changes to incorporate nature in the workplace can have a huge impact on how employees feel when they come to work, and how happy, creative and productive they feel when they are working. Colour can also have an impact on staff well-being with numerous reports finding that dull colours can have a detrimental effect; a recent study from France found that bright orange had a positive impact, while in Denmark, shades of blue worked best.
A UK based study entitled ‘The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean office Space’ found that workers with an exposed level of contact with nature were 15% more productive, compared to those with minimal contact. This can be attributed to a variety of factors including but not limited to better air quality, greater sense of wellbeing, improved concentration levels and/or a greater choice of work settings, including outdoor areas.
Our aim within The Alpha Group, is to to elevate a biophilic approach to the design of work environments higher on to the global corporate agenda. We consider, where possible, the incorporation of nature into the work environments when planning new spaces, to create inspirational and restorative places that connect humans to their surroundings in innovative ways.
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