What is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic design (or Biophilia) is the human need to gain contact with nature and other forms of life. Now, biophilic design is one of the most intriguing ways to shape and also mould your workplace. Implementing plants and greenery into your office has many advantages that impact our health and well-being.
What are the Health Benefits of Biophilics?
Nature can help relieve many psychological problems such as stress and anxiety. Biophilic design has proven to have a positive impact on people’s mood, being able to reduce their anxiety and create less pain and stress.
Introducing plants to your working environment reduces stress. In a study conducted in 2010, significant reductions were recorded where plants were located in the office. Including;
- Tension/Anxiety – 37% reduction
- Depression/Dejection – 58% reduction
- Anger/Hostility – 44% reduction
- Fatigue – 38% reduction
Buildings and office environments appear more calming and simply a nicer place to be when plants are present. They are more interesting, colourful and relaxing. Plants also enable us to perceive our surroundings better, we feel more comfortable and this, in turn, reduces stress.
Reducing Sick Building Syndrome
Not only do plants reduce stress and anxiety, they also improve air quality. This in turn could reduce the risk of sick building syndrome. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. It is important that there is enough oxygen circulating in the office. If not then one consequence of this could be fatigue, thus leading to reduced productivity in the workplace. Dust levels in the workplace can be reduced by up to 20 per cent when plants are introduced. Read more about Air Quality Here
“Urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention.” (via: Sage Journals) This makes you less restorative as you are always having to focus on different stimuli.
Employees working in offices with both internal and external green spaces along with plenty of natural light reported higher levels of well-being. This is in comparison to those working in environments without these natural features. Studies reported levels of well-being and productivity were 13% and 8% higher.
Do biophilics improve productivity? Cognitive tasks, concentration and focus are all improved. Therefore increasing productivity within the workforce. A number of studies have been conducted, it has been found that fewer mistakes are made, tasks are also completed faster and, in the case of computer workers. Productivity also increased by between 10%-15%.
Another advantage of biophilic design in the workplace is that it reduces ambient noise. It can reduce the amount of background noise by upto 5 decibels. This is not common knowledge. The plants also help absorb the sound. The amount of background noise is therefore reduced. This can consequently improve efficiency. Background noise can be a distraction in the workplace.
Which plants do best in an office environment?
Keeping plants in an office environment requires some forethought due to certain environmental conditions such as air conditioning and also periods where the office is empty etc.
Some plants which will thrive include:
- Aloe vera
- Spider plants
- Rubber plant
- Peace lily
What about a living wall?
Find out about living walls here.