As the line between work life and home life become increasingly blurred, office environments have changed with it. No longer a place of single cubicle desks and silent working, an office can offer the opportunity to take some quiet time for oneself during the day or the chance to socialise with colleagues during breaks. As employers find themselves having to seek out qualified workers more actively, the experience of the office can make or break a deal for prospective employees.
Reconnecting with the Natural Environment
Biophilic design has been on trend for the last few years, and as more people find themselves suffering from stress and burnout, it can offer a way for employees to reconnect with nature and leave immediate stress behind during breaks and lunches. There are a couple of ways biophilic design can be incorporated into the office environment; 1) by bringing the outdoors in and 2) having well kept, purpose designed outdoor spaces for employees to make use of – although not all are as ambitious as Google.
Bringing the outside in has long been a way of brightening up dull environments, but recently has taken off as a trend in its own right. Having elements of the natural environment inside the office can easily lift a mood and is a proven way to increase productivity. Biophilic design takes this to the next level, using natural materials such as cork and oak to liven office furniture (often used in contrast with industrial materials such as stainless steel or copper). Accentuated with big leafy plants and living walls that have a good rate of CO2 to oxygen conversion, what was once just a workspace becomes an area of creativity and inspiration.
Healing Power of Nature
Outdoor space is crucial to any environment where people work and live. Without the opportunity to experience natural daylight or fresh air, workers can quickly find themselves bogged down in work and are less productive as a result. Making use of water features (even just a small pond with some fish) and native plants, an office can create a social space that can be used during time out from working for colleagues to interact away from the water cooler. This, in turn, leads to a more productive office as workers find themselves able to decompress and enjoy some time away from a computer screen.
Rewarding Employees and Employers
For a small amount of money and effort, an office can quickly turn itself into a pleasant environment purely through the creative use of nature. When it has such a great impact on an employees mentality and productivity, this can be considered thoroughly worthwhile for the business.
At Paragon Design, we enjoy challenges that have a strong biophilic emphasis and work with clients to create a stunning natural environment both in terms of the materials we use and elements of nature we can incorporate. We particular enjoyed working with Interaction on the inspiring design for SunLife.