Emotional, physical & cognitive well-being of a company’s workforce is integral to building a sustainable brand and retaining top talent. Biophilia is “humanity’s innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment.” Urban workforces, in particular, are embracing biophilic design, and they’ll continue to reshape the workplace and its settings for the foreseeable future.
Biophilic design has reached a fever pitch in Silicon Valley – which now perennially creates new trends – with design aspects showing up in well-known corporate spaces such as Google, Amazon & Facebook.
The psychological and physical impact of biophilia design
As a species, we have divorced ourselves from our natural habit: the open plains. Just as zoo animals and lab rats are placed into a sterile, unenriched environment show signs of physical and mental stress, so do humans.
Encouraging biophilic design in the workplace, people respond most powerfully to the following:
- Establishing blurred lines between indoors and outdoors: the essence of humanness is connecting with nature, enabling workers to choose control and adjustments of conditions in their workspace.
- Proximity to water: think as with one’s home, the ocean or lakeview is the most desired and mentally stimulating.
- Natural light: out of all the natural elements, daylight, has been found to be the number one wanted natural feature in the workplace. Daylight distribution is the key to creating a workplace brimming with creativity, productivity and well-being.
- Scattered, clustered and varied vegetation: think of the workplace as a savanna -like terrain with scattered vegetation with heights, colors and textures, creating a natural connection to the workplace environment.
- Use of natural and local materials: the use of natural fibers, wood, cork, stone and local materials connects worker with nature promoting mental connection to the outdoors through visual stimulation.
- Shelter and privacy: Humans are challenged in the workplace with many sensory overloads such as crowding, workplace noise, visual distractions . Providing a space in the workplace for relaxation and recharging promotes a positive impact on well-being.
As biophilia design is incorporated into all workplaces, business leaders will benefit with improved productivity/ innovation, well – being and engagement of the workplace.