Biophilic Office Design And How To Achieve It

In 2014, while researching the benefits of nature, Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University discovered that even a brief glimpse of nature contributes to making people more attentive and pleased. Similarly, based on his research from the early 1980s, R.S. Ulrich argues viewing nature helps in reducing recovery time following surgery.

The above examples linking nature to improved health are among thousands of studies that indicate the importance of our exposure to nature. Nature exposure, however, is becoming less accessible to office workers as most of our time is confined inside the walls every day. With the lifestyle we follow today, it’s almost impossible to go out in nature at the amount we should. However, we can bring nature to us. That’s what biophilia is all about — welcoming nature in our workspaces. 

Biophilic design connects people with the natural environment indoors. It can be practised in different ways, through the use of direct or indirect nature. In other words, it’s about designing office space with the outdoor elements to positively contribute to the health and wellbeing of the occupants, which will ultimately improve productivity.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN

Inspired by nature, the biophilic design is about incorporating as many natural elements indoors as possible. The most essential aspects of biophilic design include:

Light

Natural light is often defined as one of the major perks for office employees. A recent survey as reported by Harvard business review, confirms how vital natural light is for office employees. Apart from boosting vitamin D, natural lighting is known to forestall seasonal depression, improve sleep, and reduce the risk of non-natural lighting.

You can incorporate natural lighting in office design with the installation of reflective materials, clerestories, skylights, and atriums. Occupants produce better results in offices where there is enough natural lighting. 

Air

Proper flow of air can improve temperature and humidity but also positively contribute to the health and productivity of the occupants. A study from Harvard indicated 61% improvement in cognition with higher office air quality when employees were tested under normal office condition against better ventilated and carbon dioxide reduced condition. Additionally, the same study revealed a 100% cognition improvement in the occupants with doubled ventilation.


You can manage an ideal airflow in your office space with improved ventilation, proper use of windows, and some innovative designs to allow natural air to spread indoors.

Plants

Introducing vegetation indoors provides the occupants with a direct relationship with nature. Plants have been proven to positively affect physical health and performance as well as reduce stress and other mental issues. 

There are various ways you can add plants indoors. Either you can use plants to dictate the whole design process, or you can start with introducing indoor plants in corners and desks of your existing office space.

Animals

Interaction with animals encourages interest, mental stimulation, and pleasure. While including animals inside an office design may be hard to achieve, you can accomplish it in specific ways with the installation of aquariums, gardens, and green roofs.

Natural Texture

We often say even just looking at pictures of nature helps our mind shift its mode of thinking. Well, we’re actually correct as various studies have already backed our claim. A recent study that used fMRI to measure brain activity showed that the brain of participants who viewed natural pictures associated with empathy and love. In contrast, the brains of participants who viewed urban scenes associated with fear and anxiety. Who wouldn’t love to create an environment that encourages positivity? 

The beauty of biophilic design is that we can also use indirect nature to achieve it. The combination of the right colours, pictures, and natural feel can certainly be introduced in an office interior. For instance, natural features and textures, such as wood and marble can also help bring outdoor vibes and creates a delightful indoor environment for the occupants.

ACHIEVE BIOPHILIC DESIGN ON BUDGET WITH SIMPLE ADDITIONS

Though it may sound intimidating in the beginning, Biophilic design is not hard to achieve. When you take examples of big tech offices, such as Amazon Seattle office, they are all well-thought and well-budgeted projects, carefully designed to achieve biophilia. That doesn’t mean you can’t achieve biophilic design without spending big. It’s all about knowing the elements and carefully addressing them at your ease. You don’t even need to do it all at the same time or overhaul your office space all at once

Introduce plantlife

Introducing plantlife in the workspace on a small scale shouldn’t be a problem even if every inch of your office space is utilised to squeeze people in. Plantlife increases oxygen levels and eases fatigue and mental stress, improving the mood and performance of employees. You’ll find numerous indoor plants that fit in the desks and beautifully grow on the walls. There is not a single corner in your office where indoor plants don’t fit. Plants can be incorporated at any space of your office. If you don’t have space on the ground, make sure to utilise your ceilings or walls.

Broaden the view

Making natural light and views of the outside world more accessible to  your staff can be a game changer. As most office workers don’t have enough access to natural light, it can be one of the underlying factors affecting their productivity, and most importantly, their mental wellbeing. Natural light and outdoor views heavily impact employee productivity and energy levels. With clever design fixes and installation of the ideal materials, such as mirrors, skylights, you are one step closer to achieving biophilic design in your office space.

Utilise outdoors

 Outdoor office spaces, such as roofs, balconies, and terraces, can provide a natural oasis to your employees. You can begin with adding your workspace elements and encouraging staff to work outdoors when possible. It will also allow your team to enjoy the benefits of natural light and fresh air while maintaining a creative, healthy, and productive life.

Embrace colour

Colour can impact people in numerous ways, both positively and negatively. For instance, American police stations use rooms with walls coloured in pink to help calm people down. Colour of nature can make a big difference to the performance and mood of people. Researches state that colours can influence a person’s physical and mental state. Therefore, incorporating the right colour into your interior design is vital.

Introduce natural features

Natural features can be anything that provides the occupants with natural vibes. It can be an aquarium full of colourful fishes or a wall decorated with natural pictures. It can also be elements that offer a sense of being outdoors. For example, natural textures, such as wood can help experience the vibes of outdoors and bring a positive effect in the minds of the employees. Use natural features in the walls or in areas that are accessible and beneficial to everyone.

Final Words

There is a wealth of evidence that links nature exposure to positive health outcomes. Considerable amount of research on the benefits of exposure to nature has highlighted  psychological and physiological health benefits. According to the studies, exposure to nature helps decrease oxyhaemoglobin concentrations in the right prefrontal cortex and also helps to achieve positive changes in heart rate variability. With the research indicating the importance of nature in our lives, opting for biophilic design can be great for offices to keep their team both physically and mentally sound. Healthy body and healthy mind means a satisfied team that performs better. 


If you want to incorporate biophilia in your office space or have any queries about office fit-outs in Australia, consult with Interia services today.

Office partition: The Right Tool To Upgrade Your Office Productivity

Looking back from the era that prefers open-plan office layout over  other office design, there have been numerous experiments in the past seventy years to invent ‘the best office layout’. Yet, even the most popular design of today isn’t free from multiple criticisms. Now, as the popularity of the open office plan is  declining, we are  learning to  acknowledge that it’s the people that need more attention for a perfect office environment. 

With personality test results being implemented on office floors, it is clear that one design doesn’t fit everyone’s needs. We may not be seeing a single layout dictating the design of future offices, but that doesn’t mean offices will need to invest a fortune for an environment that caters to everyone. A simple tweak or addition to the design can transform a working environment and, it’s where modular partitions will be of great use. They can play a significant role in transforming your office space. 

Appropriate placement and styling of partitions can help to  improve team productivity. In this article, we will discuss how office partitions affect productivity.

Partitions For Ideal Workstations For All Personalities

Office spaces  waved goodbye to the cubicle layout in the late ’90s after different studies stated that it doesn’t provide employees with the best environment to thrive. With cubicles, there were severe issues with collaboration and communication.  Though the cubicle is replaced by open-plan layout, it doesn’t seem to provide everyone with the best working environment. Open-plan layout is beneficial  to teams that prefer working in a collaborative environment, but some people still prefer to work in a cubicle-style environment. All of us have different working styles, hence it is equally important to understand the design aspect that fits the needs of every occupant.

If you want your office designs driven by a more human-centric approach, you should focus on providing the right working environment to every personality that builds your team. Different personalities prefer different workstations. Extroverts thrive in collaborative environments, whereas introverts feel comfortable working in more private workstations. Whereas, some people  thrive both in a cooperative and  closed environment. If you provide the right environment for every member of your team, it will help them to flourish professionally.

Partitions are cost-effective options that can help to transform your open office layout to a flexible and aesthetically pleasing office environment.

Private Workstations

Your workstation is where all the magic happens, talent thrives and skills come together to create compelling content. The key function of a workstation is to enhance the employee’s work performance. To achieve this, a workstation should provide a supportive environment for one’s mental and physical well-being.  t. Some jobs require a high level of attention and precision, which can’t be executed in a distracted environment. Hence, it’s also one of the reasons  why most creative people prefer working alone. 

The right partition will help in fostering creativity and increase performance by creating private workstations for employees who prefer working in a calm setting. Partitions not only minimise sounds but also exterminate visual disturbances. From desk mounted options to ducted screens with glass, you can find a wide range of partition systems at interia systems that will help you create private workstations.

Convertible workstations

Have you ever noticed people who frequently change their locations  throughout working hours? If so, you have people in your team who prefer working in a mixed environment depending on the situations they face. They switch back and forth between private and collaborative workspaces because switching helps them work better. It may not be efficient to provide different workstations for such personalities, but you can indeed create a convertible workstation for them. 

You can create a convertible workstation with divider screen and desk mount partitions that are easy to fit and remove. Such partitions will help you create a private as well as an open workstation within a matter of minutes. The best part is that you don’t need experts to install them for you.

Partitions For Improved Experience

Office space is not just about workstations. The design of other areas such as reception, meeting rooms, cafes, and conference halls also contribute to the office environment. Hence dividing different sections in the right way aids in creating an ideal office environment. For example, if an open office layout is your team’s preferred design, glass partitions  dividing the sections without affecting the open office feel would be a great choice. Partitions come in different shapes, sizes, and materials such as wood, metal, glass and much more. Selecting the right material and style for your team will increase productivity, collaboration and foster creativity.

In Your Brain on Nature, the authors share a study that found participants reacted faster and made fewer mistakes after seeing images of nature. You can add a bit of greenery in your certain partitions to positively affect the performance of your team members. Greenery reduces stress levels and pollutants, contributing to the mental wellbeing of your team.    

Lighting plays an essential role in enhancing the office environment. If you want to brighten up your office space with natural light, then a glass partition should be your ideal choice. Colours can also affect productivity. Soft, cool colours soothe the mind, while vibrant shades stimulate creativity. Office spaces shouldn’t feel claustrophobic and should be structured to increase imagination, collaboration and efficiency.

Partitions for safety

The recent global pandemic didn’t just restrict our normal activities but also raised the bar of safety standards of our office spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic  has made us rethink the way we travel, work, and collaborate.  Numerous safety protocols have been put in place for post-quarantine return to work.. The standard recommendation from all the protocols is about minimising physical interactions between people. This will also encourage designers to consider t office designs for the future.  Partitions will play a significant role in managing a safe cost-effective office environment. 
Minimising physical interactions between team members is possible with the installation of partitions, such as acrylic screens in the workstations. Since not all businesses can afford to overhaul the whole office design for safer workspace, partitions can help create a less contagious office environment on a budget. You can use partitions in different ways to create a safer office environment.

  • You can use partitions to define entry and exit points to create one-way traffic flow inside the office environment.
  • Partitions can help create personalised workspaces to ensure less interaction between team members. 
  • Creating visible and accessible sanitising and cleaning stations is easy with appropriate partitions. 
  • Partitions can help define departments and minimise confusion. 
  • They  create great physical barriers between people to help hinder contagious situations.

Deal With The Partition Experts

The right installation of partitions will not only transform your office space but also positively impact your business growth. Partitions can provide you with temporary solutions to temporary problems as well as eliminate some issues permanently. 
Whenever we talk about office partitions, we think about the sketches, the expensive and flashy materials, and days of installation that cost a fortune. As one of the most trusted office fit-out experts of Australia, Interia Systems  provides you the best  quality partitions and cost-effective solutions to upgrade your office space. Some partitions are cheaper than your regular office accessories, and you can easily install them on your office space in a few minutes.

Inertia Systems offers a wide range of office partition systems to enhance your working environment depending on your needs. Our primary goal is to provide our clients with the best office fit-out solutions while cutting down the expensive design costs. If you are looking to upgrade your office space with the right partition on budget, contact us today.