Biophilia in Workplaces
What’s new this year in Clerkenwell design week 21-23 May 2019 in London? Per Boicel visited the venue and gives us a brief of the latest trends in office design.
Last year at Clerkenwell there were a lot of hubs where people could enclose themselves for a private conversation or simply concentrate in the midst of an open busy office landscape. However, this year there were approximately 60-70% less hubs on the show than previously. Colours continue to play an important role, and the love for plants is clearly growing.
Biophilia in office design
Many of the Design companies highlighted the importance of biophilia this year. Per had a talk with some of their representatives why they thought it was important for office design:
Is an interior design company that produce and sell green walls with ordinary green indoor plants like Philodendron scandensplanted in wall frames with pot- pockets of growing substrate.
This company designs with plants and strive to bring biophilia to office spaces. (Biophilia is the human need to connect with nature and their plants bring a living piece of nature indoors).
Their main points about the benefits of indoor planting in offices are:
It Boosts Productivity: Workers who can see greenery from their desks complete work up to 12% faster and are less stressed than those in a ‘lean’ office environment. A link with natural living plants means happier people with better output and an improved bottom line. (Research by leading universities, including Washington State and Exeter)
Improves Indoor Air Quality: Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. Every person in the office needs around 5 liters of oxygen a minute, so the more fresher air available the better. Plants release oxygen, and according to NASA, they can remove up to 87% of indoor air toxins in just 24 hours, making the air we breath much healthier.
Reduces Noise: Plants can be used to create barriers in modern open plan offices. This helps to reduce noise by around 5 decibels. By stopping the distraction of surrounding noise, you enable people to focus on their task, helping them to be more efficient.
Improves Health: The presence of live indoor planting can reduce self-reported sick days. Plants can lower cases of minor respiratory conditions and headaches caused by indoor air pollution. The use ofbiophilia can also reduce stress and fatigue, lessen absenteeism and therefore lower company sick leave costs.
Reduces Bills: Plants can reduce energy bills. By providing insulation and shade, it regulates temperatures without the need for constant air conditioning and heating. Studies have shown energy costs can be reduced by up to 20%, meaning the investment in planting will more than pay for itself.
Spacestor is creating workspace furniture that combines “California cool” with London design and improving workspaces.
Spacestor Industry Trends for 2019:
Designers have super powers
Tackling loneliness and designing for meaningful social connections also means designing for a stronger immune system and brain protection (Ann Kim, Portfolio Director of Ideo Cambridge). “More and more designers will realize their superpowers. You don’t have to be a doctor or nurse to help people, designers can be healers too.”
A big holistic trend for 2019 will be the combination of wellness culture with sustainable design: eco-friendly offices full of natural light, and healthy biophilia will cater to both trends.
Biophilia in the Workplace
Steve Dobson, Head of Workplace Consultancy at Overbury, talked about bringing nature into the office and the associated benefits of biophilia (in Greek it means “love of living things”).
Humans have a deep engrained love of nature imprinted into our DNA.
Exposure to nature has become increasingly important as we are spending more time indoors than ever and away from the natural world.
The pressure on business in attracting and retention of staff is crucial for their future (of 500 top companies in London 40% are at risk of staff loss and struggle of attracting new). The cost of hiring a new employee is equivalent to an annual salary.
Work health facts 2016/17 in UK:
12.5 million working days are lost every year due to work related stress, anxiety and depression (526.000 workers).
Costs UK businesses £28.8 billion a year due to sick days (BCO& Savills 2016).
Happy workers are on average 10-12% more productive (Warwick University Study 2014).
Stress related illness are predicted to be the largest contributors to disease by 2020 (WHO).
Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment is proven to reduces stress, lower blood pressure level and heart rate. It increases the creativity, productivity and wellbeing.
Biophilic design is about creating good habitat for people as biological organisms in modern buildings and constructions that benefit people’s health, fitness and wellbeing.
Benefits of Biophilic design:
Reduce stress levels, fatigue and absence due to health issues.
Improve health, mood, wellbeing, engagement and productivity.
Natural light boosts the creation of melatonin the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle with extra energy (WHO).
Indoor plants in the room improve workers concentration and show 12% faster work speed (Washington State University). Blood pressure decreased and stressed reduced with indoor plants (University of Vermont).