The Bild team recently looked at how Biophilia in office design and a connection to nature can improve health and wellbeing.
What is Biophilia you may ask?
First introduced in the 1980s by the entomologist, Edward O. Wilson, biophilia is a scientific field of research about the human connection to nature and how it can improve our health and well-being. He said that “life around us exceeds in complexity and beauty anything else humanity is ever likely to encounter.”
Biophilic design attempts to connect the natural world with our working environment by giving people access to living things.
With this becoming a big trend in workplace interior design, we wanted to delve deeper into how the presence of plants, in particular, can be used to not only add to workspace design but also provide benefits for your employees.
After speaking with many suppliers around the country we compiled the main benefits of having greenery in your office space.
There are many toxic compounds found within the air that plants can remove. Plants are nature’s air purifier and work by either trapping toxins in their own tissue or releasing them as harmless by-products.
Lots of research has been carried out on this over the years, including NASA’s famous Clean Air Study.
Studies show that around 3 to 6 plants within the office environment can keep these air toxins below the recommended total.
Improve Employee Health
The health of employees is always important to keep in mind and improve.
Having employees that feel good within themselves means less sick days and higher productivity. So how does adding greenery help with this?
Dust to Dust
Common things that you may see in an office environment that could have an impact on the health of employees includes dust.
This normally collects on surfaces, especially those with computers. We found a study by Washington State University and they found that the amount of dust can be reduced by as much as 20% by adding plants to a space.
This is partly down to the large surface area of plants which helps to act as a filter when cleaning the air.
In sickness and un-health
There is also the common medical complaint of Sick Building Syndrome(SBS) which has arisen from us spending more time indoors during working hours.
The symptoms of this include dry skin, fatigue, headaches and even asthma. No single cause for this has been identified.
The Agricultural University of Oslo, Norway, conducted a study across 51 offices and those that contained plants had a reduction in the following:
- Fatigue – 20%
- Headaches – 30%
- Sore/dry throats – 30%
- Coughs – 40%
- Dry facial skin – 25%
Boost Staff Mood
Having employees work in a bare, clinical space can decrease morale and doesn’t provide a creative workspace to inspire and boost the mood of employees.
We have followed a number of studies that visited workplaces including a call centre in the Sydney and a large city auditor in Perth to discover how greenery can boost the mood and improve performance.
When plants were brought into the offices, one plant per square metre, employee performance improved.
The study explained, “What was important was that everybody could see a plant from their desk. If you are working in an environment where there’s something to get you psychologically engaged you are happier and you work better”.
Colourful and exciting plants also help to liven up an office; leading to a calmer working environment that’s more welcoming and enjoyable for employees to work in every day.
Recent studies have found that plants in the office can boost productivity by as much as 15%.
Studies have concluded that office environments with greenery and natural light can boost workplace productivity by 6% and increase creativity by15%.
Greenery can also be used as a natural life hack to increase our smarter thinking.
Let’s be honest, we can only stare at a computer for so long. Our attention can start to lag and, in turn, our productivity is not as high.
Having interesting features in the room, such as plants, can stimulate the brain and keep staff motivated.
Now we know that every office has budget constraints and the cost of something like Biophilia can increase that, what we hope is that you can seethe benefits that area created by having this included in your next fit out.
Which Plant Species Are Best For The Office?
- Mother-In-Law’s Tongue – Great for absorbing pollutants in the air
- Kentia Palm – These can handle shady office conditions and dry air
- Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica) – Also known for their ability to remove pollutants from the air
- English Ivy – This plant can help eliminate mould and is easy to maintain in a workplace environment
- Green Walls – Can provide a real statement feature and allows offices to install plants without taking up valuable space
With plants providing benefits to employees as well as adding to office design, this is definitely a feature that you should consider for your workspace.
Without a doubt Bild and our design team can incorporate this into your next fitout