What is Biophilia and Why is it Important?

office with biophilic design decorated with lots of plants
Biophilia, derived from the Greek terms for “love” and “life” to create the meaning ‘love of life’ meaning love of nature, is a hypothesis about the connection between humans and nature. It is based on the idea that humans are drawn to nature and that exposure to nature can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health.

It’s no surprise that when we think of a calming place, we instinctively think of nature. The sounds of a waterfall, the smell of the ocean breeze, or the stunning sights of a clear night sky. We are drawn to the beauty of nature, and the serenity that it brings. This innate connection that we feel to nature is what is known as biophilia. 

But what does contact with nature have to do with office furnishing and office design? In this post we’ll be answering those questions and showing you a few ways you can apply biophilic principles to the benefit of your workplace.

Why is Biophilia Important for Workplaces?

If you sleep the doctor-recommended 8-hours a night and work a 9-5 job during the day, half your waking hours are spent at your workplace. This amount of time in a place means it is imperative to make that environment pleasant to spend time in and as conducive to productive work as possible. Biophilia can help with that. 

Biophilia has shown to provide a number of physical and mental health benefits. Physically, it has been linked with improved outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improved immune function. Biophilia has also shown to decrease cortisol levels and improve mood, leading to reduced stress and anxiety.

These benefits can be monumental for a business because when individuals feel happier and healthier, they are able to focus better and are less likely to miss work due to illness or burnout. 

A healthy and positive work environment leads to better collaboration, teamwork and employee satisfaction. Studies show that employees who feel good at work tend to be more productive, creative, and have greater job satisfaction, which ultimately leads to better results for the business as a whole.

The incorporation of a few biophilic elements can go a long way to making your workplace one where people feel good and do good work.

Biophilic Design - Tying in the Natural World

Biophilic design utilizes the idea that, as humans, we are at our best when we are in natural environments, to drive interior and architectural design decisions and create spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and beneficial to our physical and mental health.

In biophilic design, there are three main categories:

Biophilic design is a holistic approach that incorporates elements of nature into the built environment to create spaces that are both functional and restorative. The three categories of biophilic design each play a critical role in creating environments that mimic the experience of being in nature. If applied effectively, these ideas can help a work environment that promotes mental and physical well-being, productivity and overall satisfaction.

Bring Natural Elements Into Your Workplace

There are many ways to incorporate biophilic design elements into your workplace. Here are a few useful ideas.

Bringing Nature and Natural Materials Indoors

Bringing plants, water features, natural materials, and nature-based art and imagery into the interior design of a space can be a great way to take advantage of biophilic benefits. Plants are known to improve air quality and have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Water features such as fountains or aquariums can add the soothing sounds of nature indoors.

Natural materials like wood, stone, or bamboo create a sense of connection to the outdoors. Nature-based artwork such as photographs or paintings of nature also brings the outdoors inside. All these elements help to create an atmosphere full of visual beauty that incites connections with nature in order to improve employee well-being.

row of plants in office

Maximizing Natural Light

Large windows are one of the most effective ways to bring in more natural light and harness its benefits such as boosting vitamin D, reducing anxiety and lowering blood pressure. Along with these advantages, large windows also provide the office with views of the outdoors which can boost moods and productivity. 

If accessing direct sunlight is difficult, installing skylights in the ceiling can be a useful alternative. To further maximize on the beneficial effects of natural light, installing light shelves above windows, using mirrors, and adding transparent partitions are all options that can improve the biophilic feel of a workplace.

Purposeful Room Design

Green walls have become a popular trend for businesses of all kinds looking for simple ways to improve the atmosphere of their workplace. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, green walls have shown to reduce stress and improve moods. Both of which can help increase productivity.

To further support employee wellbeing and comfortability, businesses should consider implementing quiet rooms or recuperation spaces where lighting is lowered and noise is kept to a minimum. These areas can offer a unique place where employees can take a short break from the bustle of their daily tasks and recharge. Over time, spaces like these pay for themselves as they help combat burnout and the absences that come with it.

WDI Group Can Bring the Benefits of Biophilia to Your Business

As you can see, there are many benefits to biophilic design and even more ways these principles can be incorporated into your workplace to maximize employee well-being and productivity. That said, creating an office space that conveniently meets the needs of your business while being aligned with biophilic ideas can be a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone.

With over 45 years in office construction design, and furnishing, WDI Group has developed the collaborative approach needed to reimagine your workplace in a way that is tailored to your needs, and the know-how to execute the project. Click here to set up an appointment!