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Biophilic office design - The science and benefits

by Ida Andersen on August 04, 2022

Most modern and traditional offices don't exactly resemble the great outdoors, but as we see an increasing trend within a people-focused approach to office interior design, it seems like the principles of biophilic office design are here to stay.

Let us take you through the concept of Biophilic Design, its benefits in the office, and how you can implement the principles.  

Biophilic office design - SQUARELY COPENHAGEN self-watering planters in green office design with plants for the office 

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic office design refers to an increasing trend of bringing the outdoors into the office space and workspace by mimicking elements from nature. It is based on the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. The goal is to enhance clarity of thought and creativity, but also to reduce stress and improve mental health and physical well-being for all staff-members.  

The concept of biophilia was first mentioned by German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness in 1973 and later used by Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson in his book Biophilia (1983) to describe the human relationship with nature and its power to heal and reconnect humans. Now, the benefits of Biophilic Design in office interiors are widely researched and studied. 

 Biophilic office design - SQUARELY COPENHAGEN self-watering planters in green office design with plants for the office

The benefits of Biophilic Design in the office

The increasing implementation of Biophilic Design in offices and workspaces also comes from the fact that several studies and research have proved a large range of benefits of incorporating nature in office spaces, such as enhanced staff productivity, creativity, and mental health. Here are some of the most studied and proven benefits of Biophilic Design in the office: 

Improved Performance: A UK-based study entitled ‘The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean office Space’ shows that a green office will undoubtedly improve performance. To be exact, the study found that workers with an exposed level of contact with nature were 15% more productive compared to those with minimal contact.

Enhanced Creativity: Nature creates a more stimulating work environment that will allow creativity to flourish. Greenery has a positive impact on innovation and how employees think. The same is the case with paintings, and simply natural colours on the walls. 

Increased Concentration: Office decorations with plants can vary from large green walls to selected plants in smaller or larger planters throughout the office, however, the outcome will be the same: Plants increase oxygen levels and remove toxins from the air that will decrease the mental fatigue of the employees. As an end result, the concentration level increases and contributes to the overall productivity. 

Staff retention: As the overall well-being for staff-members in the workplace and office is increasing due to Biophilic Design, so does staff retention. Recruitment costs of new employees are often high, making it important to engage workers to stay in the office. Happy workers equal successful businesses, making biophilic design a win-win.

Even though Biophilic Design is crucial in workplaces, it is important to point out that Biophilic Design is not only for traditional offices. The service sectors can also benefit from bringing nature in. Hotel guests, for example, are willing to pay 23% more for views that incorporate Biophilic elements, and for hospitals, introducing Biophilic principles can reduce post-operative recovery times by 8.5%.

 Biophilic office design - SQUARELY COPENHAGEN self-watering planters in green office design with plants for the office

Biophilic Design in the office

Nowadays, where we spend most days in front of a screen at work, and as workers and employees are getting pickier with their workplaces, Biophilic Design is here to stay. This is the era of the green plants - also in the office.

It might seem like a trend to some, but the truth is that humans always had a deep connection with nature and plants. Busy urban lives are becoming the norm and nature moves indoors. We see more innovative office planning and interior design to ensure that employees have views of nature to reduce stress. However, a lot of workplaces cannot provide a real view of nature from the windows, and that is where living green walls made of real plants or potted plants with self-watering systems are efficient. These can easily be placed at the receptions, canteens, offices, and meeting rooms.  

 Biophilic office design - SQUARELY COPENHAGEN self-watering planters in green office design with plants for the office

Simple steps to include Biophilic Design in the office

Here are some simple ways to include Biophilic Design principles in the office.   

1. Get natural light into the office

Sunlight can lift the mood in seconds, and the same is valid in offices and workspaces. Natural light helps regulate our circadian rhythms and affects temperature, sleep, and a lot of other body functions. Ensure that there is nothing on the windowsill, like books or paper, that is blocking the sunlight, remove unnecessary blinds, and exchange heavyweight curtains with lighter fabrics.  

2. Add as many plants as possible

Plants are the foundation of Biophilic Design, and it is a simple way to bring nature into the workspace and office - whether it is at the entrance, canteen, meeting rooms, or work areas. Use tall plants to divide spaces in your office, making creative hubs where employees can brainstorm, or create a vertical living plant wall. Remember, plants provide cleaner air, cooling shade, and noise insulation, so be sure to add as many as possible. 

3. Balance the airflow 

Cool air will wake everyone up and reconnect everyone with nature outside. Be sure to routinely open windows and doors to allow a steady stream of fresh air to circulate in the office. This will allow for more oxygen to flow in the workspace in the rooms and increase concentration.  

Biophilic Design cases with SQUARELY COPENHAGEN 

At SQUARELY COPENHAGEN, our mission is to create green spaces with minimal effort. We use greenery and plants to design spaces and improve environments for all kinds of companies such as hotels, restaurants, agencies, offices, showrooms, retail spaces, clinics and more.

We have worked with a number of companies all over the world. 

Read the cases here: 

Green environment for Microsoft

Office improvement for Nordgreen


Do you have a space where you wish to implement the principles of Biophilic office design? Then contact us today or read more about our services.

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