What is Biophilic Workplace Design?

Find out what biophilic design is and how it can benefit your business. We explain what biophilic workplace design is about and how it can benefit your office work environment.

What is Biophilic Workplace Design?

What is ‘biophilic design’?

Biophilia (meaning love of nature) focuses on our inherent attraction to nature and natural processes. It suggests that we all have a genetic connection to the natural world built up through hundreds of thousands of years of living in environments that are reliant on cultivated land. It is a term popularised by American psychologist Edward O Wilson in the 1980’s, when he observed how increasing rates of urbanisation were leading to a disconnection with the natural world. With high rates of migration to urban settings in the developed world and soaring rates in developing countries – Biophilia is of ever-increasing importance to our health and well-being in the built environment. Biophilic design uses these ideas as principles to create a human-centred approach that when applied improves many of the spaces that we live and work in today, with numerous benefits to our health and well-being. Read on for Collaborate's 5 key benefits of employing biophilic design...

Four Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Workplace

  1. Improved Air Quality
  2. Promotes happiness and well-being
  3. Can improve productivity and creativity
  4. Attracts potential employees

1. How can biophilic design improve air quality in the office?

Having plants in the office uses carbon dioxide that is bad for us to produce oxygen which is obviously good for us. They also transpire through their leaves, making the air more humid, which is really good for tackling the problem of dry-air in offices with air-conditioning. Another air-related benefit of having greenery in the office is that plants absorb VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as chemicals that are widely used in domestic cleaning products, contained within some carpets, and emitted from electronics. Employing a relatively affordable and attractive solution to improving air quality in the workplace is a huge benefit of biophilic design. Read more about how air pollution is making office workers less productive.

2. Can biophilic office design promote happiness and well-being?

Not surprisingly, biophilic elements make us feel in a more positive frame of mind. Positive people have a positive impact on others, take better care of themselves and are healthier. Another point to consider here is that they are less likely to be off work sick, so if you are still on the fence about adding biophilic elements to your workspace, consider the impact it could have on reducing absenteeism in your office.

3. What effect can biophilic office design have on the productivity and creativity of your teams?

There are various studies out there that claim exact percentage increases (ranging from 10% to 20%) in both productivity and creativity among workers who are exposed to plant life in the workplace. Although that sounds good it is almost certainly going to be difficult to track and prove. What is undeniable though is that the overall look of the office is improved – and importantly the air quality – so one can definitely expect some sort of increase in creativity and productivity amongst colleagues. Read more about this topic in this article on Biophilic Design from Harvard University

4. Are there any commercial benefits of employing biophilic office design?

Aside from your teams feeling happier and more creative – a further commercial benefit of embracing biophilia in the office is the appeal you’ll have for potential new employees. Attracting the right talent is a big challenge in the current highly competitive market. Showing potential employees that you care about the environment in which your teams operate is a wonderfully positive statement for potential recruits who come into contact with your business.


3 Examples of Biophilic Design in the Office

Biophilic office design with large plants
Biophilic design in the workplace can promote increased productivity and creativity

Biophilic office design using large pot plants
Biophilic design facilitates better air quality which has a positive impact on employees' well-being

Meeting room with biophilic office design
Among other benefits biophilic design can help your business recruit the best talent

Like the sound of biophilic design?
Get in touch with Collaborate for more advice on how to embrace biophilia in your workplace.

Posted on

October 16, 2018


Workplace Solutions

Workplace Solutions