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The term ‘biophilia’ refers to humans’ inherent connection with nature, which we know to have a huge influence on health and wellbeing. Biophilic design seeks to bring this connection — and its myriad of benefits — to interior spaces. As the office continues to evolve and become more community-focused and conversations around wellbeing and health increase, designers are turning more and more to biophilic references and styles in order to create the most desirable working environments.
Unfortunately, not all companies have Amazon’s design team, space or indeed budget at their disposal and won’t be able to build glass-domed greenhouses in their offices, but there are some simple features that can be adopted, and which can be relatively easy to incorporate into any workplace. These include:
Plants and flowers are a perfect place to start. Including greenery in the workplace can increase oxygen levels, improve concentration levels and decrease fatigue. Why not try asking every employee to bring in their own desk plant?
Best of all, you don’t even need the real thing to enjoy some biophilic effect! Although they can’t improve air quality, artificial plants can still be beneficial to your employees’ health, because just seeing natural landscapes and elements can improve mood and concentration.
Natural colours and shapes
One of the key components of biophilic design is the use of natural colours and shapes.
Visual elements of nature can help reduce stress and fatigue in a number of ways, and green-painted walls are a great and simple step towards embracing biophilia, or office décor that centres around earthy tones as well as blues and white that mimic water, sky and clouds.
Even artwork depicting natural landscapes can generate a relaxing effect. And if you really want to go all-out, a living wall provides a real-life green injection without compromising any floorspace.
Including lots of natural elements like wood, bamboo and stone, both in working spaces and break-out areas, helps to mimic the textures and materials found outdoors. Even wooden desks and leather sofas help to bring a sense of the outdoors inside.
Harsh fluorescent lighting is a huge contributor to fatigue, headaches and stress. Make the most of your office’s natural light by ensuring windows aren’t fully covered by blinds and desks are pointed towards windows rather than away from them. If budget allows, installing skylights is a fantastic way to flood the space with extra light.
Also, real natural light is very changeable — becoming stronger, cooler and then warmer again as the day progresses and even changing according to weather and cloud cover. Many offices are installing wall-to-wall windows as a way of giving employees exposure to a full range of natural light as it changes throughout the day, providing a much more biophilic ambience than glaring fluorescent bulbs. If this is too much for your budget or space to allow, you can achieve some lighting variation with the installation of dimmer switches
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.