Promoting wellness and well-being with biophilic design

As we become more aware of our environment, biophilia helps complement design and improve the overall quality of life of the people within the space, says Callum Hopkirk

WITH a renewed focus on employee well-being in the workplace, companies are paying more attention to the fine details, which have a big impact on wellness. As a result, we’re seeing more and more instances of biophilia in commercial design - ‘bringing the outside in’ or incorporating elements of nature, in order to benefit staff morale and productivity.

Biophilia, meaning ‘love of nature’, focuses on our innate attraction to nature, which was put forward in 1984 by American biologist and theorist Edward O Wilson. Wilson argued that humans benefit from being in close contact with nature, and often suffer when we’re excluded from it.

Biophilic design explores how we can bring nature into a space, through the introduction of real forms of nature such as plants and natural light, and how we use elements that mimic aspects of nature, such as colours, textures and patterns.

Large numbers of studies have been undertaken to determine the benefits of biophilia in the modernised environment that we find ourselves in, with results including:

Increased productivity by 8% in the workplace, followed by an increase in employee wellbeing by 13%.

Quicker recovery time for patients in post-operative care where biophilic elements were present (8.5% faster recovery than in spaces without biophilic design).

Customers in a retail outlet indicated that they were willing to pay 8-12% more for business’ goods and services where the buying environment incorporated biophilia.

Implementing biophilia can seem like a daunting process, however, it’s relatively simple to incorporate into your space...

Take advantage of natural light

Natural light has been found to decrease depression and improve mood, energy, alertness and productivity. To make the most of natural light, ensure that windows aren’t fully covered by blinds and that desks are strategically positioned; side on works well, avoiding glare, but allowing plenty of light into the space.

Introduce natural finishes

Introducing natural finishes into your space is a simple way to implement biophilia in your workplace - even if they aren’t technically natural! Flooring is a great place to start. With such a large surface area, your choice of floorcovering can have a huge, yet subtle impact.

For a low maintenance, cost effective solution, look to LVT, which offers a range of authentic looking wood and stone effects as well as providing acoustic comfort, being much quieter than real wood, stone or laminate products.
With a huge range of colours and designs to choose from, you’re sure to find an LVT product that works for your space, whilst contributing to the overall biophilic feel.

Bring plant life into your space

Did you know that one plant for every three employees can reduce carbon dioxide levels by 20%? Along with the ability to reduce dust and bacteria levels within your space, introducing plant life into a space has been found to reduce ailments such as headaches and coughs.

Biophilia isn’t a passing design trend; as we become more aware of our environment, biophilia helps to not only complement design, but improve the overall quality of life of the people within the space.

Callum Hopkirk is commercial development manager, Distinctive Flooring