In recent years, biophilia has emerged as one of the key trends within the field of interior design and is now a priority for many of the top office design companies London and the rest of the UK has to offer. This trend is primarily driven by research, which shows the potential benefits that natural elements can have on employees.
For instance, a recent Human Spaces report highlights various studies on the subject and states that office workers in environments with natural elements, like greenery and sunlight, are eight percent more productive. In this article, we take a look at seven ways you can introduce biophilia into your office or workplace.
1. Allow Natural Light In
According to the findings of researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, workplace daylight exposure is linked to improved sleep, activity and quality of life. Those exposed to less natural light are likely to suffer from poorer quality of sleep, experience more sleep disturbances, and are less productive throughout the day.
In terms of providing natural light exposure, it is important to make sure that your office building has plenty of windows, and that workers are positioned relatively close to those windows. Additionally, commercial interior designers should prioritise keeping windows unobstructed, so that the light actually gets through.
2. Introduce Plants
Another way you can improve workplace productivity through biophilic design is by utilising plant life as a decorative element. In fact, a study carried out at the University of Exeter found that the addition of plants to an office environment provides a boost to both employee engagement and concentration levels.
The inclusion of plant life in workplace designs is especially important in big cities, where views out of the office will be dominated by man-made structures, like concrete buildings. This is why, for example, many of the best office design companies London has to offer will place a strong emphasis on natural interior decorative elements.
3. Make Use of Natural Materials
A significant part of any office interior design is the furniture that is selected. This can include everything from workstations and desk chairs to shelves and bookcases, and it offers a chance to include more natural elements.
On a basic level, furniture constructed from obvious natural materials, like wood, can help to enhance a biophilic design. However, the range of material that can be used is actually quite extensive and includes things like stone and marble, which can help you to create interesting, visually impressive designs.
4. Prioritise Ventilation
Very few biophilic design elements are quite as important as ventilation. Indeed, an article published by the Harvard Business Review references multiple studies showing that good ventilation in the workplace can prevent illness, reduce absenteeism, improve cognitive function and increase productivity.
Air circulation mimics the conditions experienced in nature, while stale air has a detrimental impact upon mood and workplace activity. Both natural and artificial ventilation systems can play a role in biophilic design, although some degree of natural airflow is preferable wherever it can be safely achieved.
5. Use Natural Colour Schemes
Of course, one of the most obvious aspects of an interior design project is the colour scheme chosen. Increasingly, commercial interior designers are coming to understand the benefits of making use of natural tones and colour schemes, not just to provide visual quality, but to produce tangible psychological benefits.
The aforementioned Human Spaces Report also highlights research suggesting natural tones like greens and blues can help to improve the motivation and creativity of employees in a workplace.
6. Include Water
One natural element that is sometimes overlooked in terms of office design is the inclusion of water. Within a typical office, this can be achieved in several ways, such as by having a fish tank or a water fountain in the building.
In actual fact, some studies suggest that being close to water, or even seeing water in pictures, can have a positive impact on mood and can help to reduce stress levels. Not only does this apply to natural water sources like rivers, lakes and the coast, it also applies to man-made water features, like fountains.
7. Hang Biophilic Artwork
Finally, the finishing touches to a biophilic office interior design project can be provided through careful and intelligent selection of artwork and graphics. This office art should not only reflect your core company values, some of it should also provide depictions or reminders of the natural world.
Photographs of trees or flowers, or paintings of natural landscapes are two simple examples of this, although the natural world provides plenty of scope for more originality or experimentation. The concept of using natural artwork can be taken even further with the use of natural materials like wood for the frames.
Reno is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions, one of the leading office design companies in London. It specilises in commercial interior design, office space planning, office branding and much more. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.