The term “biophilia” was contrived by American biologist and researcher Edward O. Wilson, describing the innate tendency that human beings seek in the natural world. Biophilic design in the workplace include elements such as water, living plants, sunlight, and natural materials. Recent studies have shown that biophilic elements in the workplace can bring multiple benefits to employees' wellbeing.
Implementing biophilic design in the workplace can generate positivity and comfort. CBRE conducted a health study in 2018 and the results show that 76% of workers felt more energized, 78% of the workers felt happier and, 65% felt healthier when being exposed to plants in their office. There was also a 10% improvement in cognitive performance.
Stress and Fatigue Reduction
Having elements of nature in the office can help provide psychological restoration and improve cognitive functions. According to a study by Cole and Hall, even just a couple of hours in the wilderness can have a substantial stress reduction and mental rejuvenation. Different biophilic design patterns also have various functions in improving wellness. Terrapin Bright Green’s 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design report discovers that with the presence of water, there is reduced stress, lower heart rate, and blood pressure.
In order to bring nature closer to office workers, many tech giants are including green elements in their offices. Amazon built "Spheres" in their office that houses 40,000 plants along with waterfalls and a river, creating a treehouse type meeting space intended to increase wellbeing and foster creativity for their employees. Interface’s 2015 Human Spaces Report found that workers under proximity to greenery and sunlight reported themselves as 6% more productive, 15% more creative and 15% higher level of wellbeing.
Photo Credit: Amazon
There will be concerns about the cost and ongoing maintenance of features of biophilic design in the workplace. Over time, adversities will diminish as more projects will exhibit health improvements that biophilic design can bring and their value.
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