After two years of employees working from home, many businesses are seeking to merge the comforts of remote working with the camaraderie of in-person office structures. Over the last few years, as the world managed its way through the unknown, business owners and managers saw improved productivity from its employees, primarily based on being able to work comfortably from a safe space with reduced stress. One way to depressurize an office space is through the incorporation of plants in the workplace.
Biophilia is the desire or tendency to commune with nature. As we saw when we were cooped up at home, being outside around nature is an important stress-reducing activity. Incorporating plants and creating spaces that utilize the open feel of nature are great ways for businesses to welcome back employees who are apprehensive about surrendering their remote days.
Five ways to ensure your new natural feeling office space will resonate with biophilia lovers include:
- Furniture Orientation
- Ensuring a Multi-Sensory Experience
- Incorporating Outdoor Spaces
Proper planning is vital to incorporating that sense of biophilia into your office space. Understanding the intended nature of the space that is set to be infused with lush greenery is a perfect place to start. Is the room intended to be a retreat or refuge from the hustle and bustle of a busy office? Or perhaps the green space is for the reception area where a wide, sweeping view is optimal. By knowing how you want people to feel as they enter a specific area, you can develop the right plan to incorporate the perfect plants for that area.
Orientation of the Perfect Furniture
Creating the right biophilic experience for you and your employees is not strictly limited to which plants go in a certain space. A fact of life for every office is the need for furniture. Creating a positive and thriving space for your employees that maximizes the benefits of biophilia requires the use of furniture that works with the feel for each specific room. For example, an open floorspace that would have housed numerous cubicles in the past may now utilize a variety of eye-level desks and standing desks that allow the workers to have different fields of vision while incorporating screen dividers that hold a variety of plants.
Ensuring a Multi-Sensory Experience
Plants are amazing living things. Not only are they visually stimulating and appealing, but the also have a variety of smells and textures. Many plant lovers even say they can hear their plants! To really create a full biophilic experience, your spaces should include a variety of plants that take into account shifting colors, scented blooms, and differing textures. Employees will be able to sense the differences immediately, beyond simply seeing the greenery. There will be a noticeable change in temperature as well as a cleaner feeling to the air. Businesses can take this multisensory experience to a higher level by using screens that show nature in motion or introducing speakers that play quiet sounds of nature, like wind blowing through trees or babbling brooks.
Change is a fact of nature. All living things go through life cycles, including plants. As plants cycle through, this provides a great opportunity to incorporate some change into the biophilic experience. Many times these changes occur with the changing of the seasons, allowing office spaces to bring the current vibe of the outdoors indoors. Another option for variability is the inclusion of light changes throughout the day, mimicking the light changes that occur outdoors. Varying the light indoors to follow the sun’s track across the sky will help increase the benefits experienced by employees who spend their time surrounded by nature.
Incorporating Outdoor Spaces
It is important to integrate outdoor work spaces with biophilic goals. When peering out of the windows or enjoying lunch on the patio, employees want to bring that sense of comfort and nature with them outside. As their gaze moves from the serene indoor office to the outdoors, it is best to have that serenity follow them instead of leading them out into a concrete jungle. That sudden shift can be disorienting and may ruin the atmosphere created through all the work that went into the interior. Perpetuating the sense of biophilia throughout the entire premises will provide the best benefit to owners, employees, and visitors alike.
We here at PLANTZ understand the importance of creating a warm and welcoming space for your employees to enjoy as they acclimate back to the workplace. Working with you to design, create, and maintain your vision is our purpose, and we look forward to creating serene green spaces together.
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