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Workplace Insight

Biophilic Design Is Possible for All Workspaces - Here’s Why

Biophilic design can be beneficial to companies like Apple to offices, schools, and hospitals. Here's how to implement it in your workspace.

September 4, 2019
office lounge area with sectional

In one of our previous posts, we introduced the concept of biophilic design and its central tenets authored by professor Stephen R. Kellert. In short, biophilic design, when executed correctly, leads to better workplace satisfaction and retention.

Below we examine how biophilic design can be incorporated at workspaces at every budget level.

Workspace Benefits of Utilizing Biophilic Design

Inc. Magazine notes that when employees work in these types of spaces, they feel more energized to work due to the naturally bright surroundings and expansive plant life.

For example, offices and other workspaces can add inexpensive plant life in different areas to help with employee happiness. But effective biophilic design and its associated benefits go beyond just integrating natural light and plant life into office spaces. Naturally occurring air circulation (ventilation) within the workspace can help improve employees’ mood and work processes, according to a post from Shoeboxed.

As for the economic and financial benefits of using biophilic design, it helps with decreasing employee absenteeism, increasing sales, and improving employee retention, according to the Economics of Biophilia report compiled by Terrapin Bright Green.

In the report, those with better or decent views of nature remained at their desks during their lunch breaks, while those with no view took their breaks outside.

Tips and Strategies for Implementing

The following seven tips highlight simple ways to implement biophilic design in your workplace, gathered from the 14 patterns of biophilic design.

  • Placing water foundations (miniature or big)
  • Showing water flow and other forms of nature through audio or video
  • Featuring plants of various sizes across the office
  • Diffusing assorted scented oils throughout the office
  • Utilizing wood and natural metals for office furniture, including desks, long tables, and bookcases
  • Use of LED and natural light for personal and group spaces
  • Application of patterned wallpaper or vibrant and natural paint color schemes, such as greens and blues

Examples of Biophilic Design in Action

In healthcare:

Featured in a Fast Company article, Parsley Health, a primary care startup, used biophilic design for their patients in the following ways:

  • plant wall over their receptionist’s desk
  • plant-based snacks in their kitchen
  • floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the natural light come in
  • wood furniture pieces

Hospitals and other health-focused workplaces have benefitted from utilizing biophilic design. Benefits of using biophilic design have included quicker recovery rates for patients and reduced stress rates for employees.

In schools:

For Virginia’s Manassas Park Elementary School, large South-facing windows were placed throughout the school. Additional outdoor spaces were created. Overall, these simple changes increased learning and satisfaction for both students and teachers.

In businesses and workspaces:

Highlighted in an IDEO article, architecture firm CookFox Architects made sure that all 80 of their employees had a direct view to the outdoors. Their office also had a rooftop garden and ocean-themed flooring.

Granite’s Factory Six03, a warehouse-turned-office in Dallas, TX, has a rooftop garden, a large atrium, and 100-year-old wooden floors within their 215,000 square feet space-- all to inspire creatives who work there. Art installations are scattered throughout the workspace.

LinkedIn promotes biophilic design across all of their office spaces. The company has a workspace design lab where ideas and strategies are brainstormed to determine how to build spaces that led to more productive and happier employees.

How Office Environments Can Make It Happen

If biophilic design seems impossible to implement, Office Environments is here to help. We have experience in creating unique design plans for education, commercial, healthcare, and governmental workspaces across Alabama and Florida. We also offer Space Planning and Design services, where we can assist you from in-depth research to budget accommodation.

From quality furnishings to installation, Office Environments creates innovative, well-designed workplaces that allow your organization to thrive. Drop by one of our locations in Alabama and Florida or visit www.officenvironments.com to learn more about us and how we can transform your workplace.