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BSI Blog

A Connection to Nature in the Workplace

Connection to NatureDo you remember watching The Wizard of Oz as a child? Remember when Dorothy is in the tornado and everything is black and white, dark, dull – just blah?  Now think about where you work. Are you in a cubicle or office that is monotonous in color, maybe makes you feel blah?  Do you think there isn’t much that you can do about it?

Two Words.  Biophilic Design.

Consider bringing the outdoors into your workspace, and you will find that you feel better and you work harder throughout the day.  We are talking about incorporating biophilic design into your workspace.

Biophilic design refers to the human response to nature. In an article posted by HermanMiller.com, landscape remains the preferred natural habitat of human beings, regardless of culture or country. While most people spend our days living and working indoors, we still seek key features of our ancestral landscape that aided survival and enhanced our well-being. Numerous studies have made it clear that there is an undeniable link between better health, higher job satisfaction and increased productivity in offices where there is a connection to nature. In the healthcare field, biophilic design plays a vital role in patient health because of its tremendous impact on human psychology.  In addition to the health benefits, there are indications that attention, learning, and cognitive function may be improved by nature-based design. BSI believes that incorporating nature into design is extremely important, and has made Biophilic Design one of the ten principles used in its Productivity Based Design™ method.

5 Ways To Connect to Nature & Increase Productivity

  1. Natural Light: Increase the amount of natural light that your employees have access to throughout the day. Workers who have access to abundant natural light report less fatigue, less stress, improved cognitive function and wellness.
  1. Move Hard Walled Offices to the Building Core: Does your workplace have private offices located around the exterior of the building to take advantage of the view?  This is commonly seen in many workplaces. While it provides a great view to those inside of the private offices, it leaves the remaining employees in the center of the space and likely lacking natural light.  Productivity Based Design™ suggests moving hard walled offices into the building core, while leaving windows available to share the light with the entire space.
  1. Use Glass Walls: Use of glass walls serves a dual purpose in the office.  It increases the access to natural light and connection to nature, while also maximizing a visual feeling of accessibility to those whose job functions require a private office.
  1. Natural Stimuli: When existing buildings do not have adequate natural light available, consider adding artificial skylights, live plants, or water-sculptures.
  1. Artwork: Consider filling empty walls with artwork displaying views of nature and other sensory stimuli.  In a 2010 Environmental Psychology study, subjects who were “mentally fatigued” after completing a cognitively demanding task, were shown six minutes of “restorative images” (photographs of natural landscapes). It was found that subjects had faster reaction times, more correct responses, and better overall memory recall than those who viewed photographs of urban images for the same amount of time.

Biophilic Design plays a very important role in office design according to BSI’s 10 Principles of Productivity Based Design™.  These ten principles, when used properly throughout the workplace, can increase innovation and productivity. BSI designs, builds and furnishes interiors for business.  If you want to talk to our professionals about how to incorporate any of the tips above, from artwork to a new layout for your workstations, call us at 1.800.353.3600 or email info@buildingservice.com

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