From Canary Wharf’s commitment to develop a “green spine” to Google UK’s thriving 300-metre-long rooftop park, more and more companies are investing in creating natural spaces for their staff to disconnect from the office and cityscapes outside.
There’s a growing movement that is seeking to bridge the gap between our urban environments and the natural world. This movement is called “biophilic design.” Born from the fusion of science and creativity, biophilic design harnesses the power of nature to enhance our workspaces by creating environments that stimulate productivity, inspire creativity, and promote overall well-being. It’s clear creating office spaces where workers can be surrounded by and gain access to green areas is becoming a trend.
What’s driving the trend? The proven link between the outdoors and productivity. Research has shown that workers who have a view of landscapes or trees take fewer days off work for illness. The Mental Health Foundation has also reported that people with access to nature tend to be happier.
It can create many positive responses and trigger things like joy, creativity, calmness. It can even help to boost concentration. Being connected to nature is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health and can impact an individual’s depression and anxiety.
Let’s explore the innovative ways in which offices are blending nature with the practicality of built environments to understand how natural spaces can be the catalyst for enhanced performance and a harmonious work-life balance.
Offices and the Importance of Investing in Nature Inspired Spaces
The corporate world is no stranger to the perpetual battle for productivity. Offices are often portrayed as sterile environments filled with cubicles and fluorescent lighting. While bigger organisations have the budgets to invest in creating green spaces, this isn’t within reach for every business. This is where biophilic design can pay dividends for SMEs and in more modest working environments.
Biophilic design has brought about a transformation in the way we perceive, design, or even choose office spaces. Incorporating natural elements into office environments is not merely an aesthetic choice but a strategic one.
Research indicates that workers in offices that weave in elements of nature tend to be more focused, creative, and engaged. Indoor plants, natural light, and materials reminiscent of the outdoors have become integral components of office spaces designed to boost productivity. And offices with access to outdoor space is now at a premium, especially in urban environments.
The presence of greenery can lead to a significant reduction in stress levels, a boost in creativity, and even enhanced cognitive function. The reasons behind this are deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, as humans have an innate connection with nature. Biophilic design in offices seeks to tap into this primal relationship, making workspaces not just functional but genuinely invigorating spaces to be in.
The Importance of Investing in Access To Nature
Investing in biophilic design is an investment in human well-being and performance. As companies prioritise the well-being of their employees, they discover that the inclusion of nature-inspired elements in the workplace can lead to lower absenteeism, decreased stress, and an increase in overall job satisfaction.
Furthermore, a greener workplace can result in reduced energy costs, as natural elements such as green walls and skylights can contribute to better temperature regulation.
In essence, investing in nature is not a luxury but a strategic choice. It’s a recognition of the profound impact that our surroundings have on our productivity, creativity, and overall quality of life.
But what type of nature has the most profound impact on the workforce?
What Is High-Quality Nature?
Flora can be found in abundance in the UK, from manicured city gardens to untamed woodland or rolling countryside. But, when it comes to high-quality nature, there’s a distinct distinction.
High-quality nature is nature in its most authentic, untouched form. Think of the tranquil escape of an ancient forest or the serenity of a secluded lakeside, and you’re on the right track.
There’s an undeniable allure to high-quality nature that city-scape roof gardens and cultivated green spaces can’t quite replicate. It’s an environment where nature reigns supreme and where the chaos of the modern world is hushed.
While many urban offices try to recreate natural experiences for their workforce, they are restricted by the very nature of their city or town based locations. This is where co-working spaces can offer access to natural spaces that rival any downtown office unit.
Discover 10 Ways Nature Can Boost Our Productivity
It is no secret that proximity to nature had a positive impact on productivity, so much so that its proven benefits have left many businesses querying if it is time to move out of the city.
Nature has an intrinsic connection to the human psyche and might just provide the key to unlocking your full potential. Think of proximity to nature as…
A Stress Reliever: Being surrounded by green spaces and woodlands can lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It can even have similar effects to breathing techniques and mindfulness approaches.
A Morale Booster: Having plants nearby can also bring people together, build trust and motivate staff members, leading to better collaboration, creative thinking, and the sharing of ideas.
A Sleep Supporter: When we spend time outside, our brain chemistry is activated, and this can lead to better sleep. We all know the powers of sleep and how a good night of kip can lead to better performance at work.
A Memory Improver: Spending time outdoors or actually just having a tropical or woodland-themed screen saver or canvas on the wall is proven to improve our short-term memory.
A Mood Modified: Natural environments can help to reduce any feelings of tension, anxiety, and in turn, can make us more enthusiastic.
An Energy Provider: Try swapping caffeine or scrolling on your phone during breaks for a walk-in nature. Just 20 minutes spent soaking up fresh air can give you the same boost as your afternoon latte.
A Source Of Focus: Taking in the beauty of green spaces is known to help mental stamina and increase focus. (Did you know that rosemary is also great for concentration and improving memory too?)
If you’re looking for a workspace with plenty of flora nearby, Hartham Park is set in the rolling Cotswolds, surrounded by acres of wildlife and nature which means that our members can benefit from the boost in productivity that greenspaces offer.
Book a visit to view our collaborative workspaces surrounded by nature and see how we can help support your business needs.