These days, most of the workforce in the United States spends the majority of their days indoors, and this is especially common in medium to large-size cities like Pittsburgh. While it might not seem like a big deal that most workers spend less than an hour outside every day, it could have far-reaching consequences.
A human being’s need to connect with nature and the outdoors led to biologist Edward O. Wilson coining the term “biophilia.” The innate attraction to nature that is the biophilia hypothesis means that long days indoors could be detrimental to production.
Figuring out how to feed this attraction to nature in the modern workforce is an issue that has emerged over the past decade, and office design in Pittsburgh has adapted to address this need.
What Exactly is Biophilic Office Design?
With so many people working long days indoors, the biophilic office design trend focuses on bringing nature into the workplace. This usually conjures up the image of an office desk or office cubicle with small plants spread across its work surface. However, biophilic office design doesn’t just mean mixing in some plants alongside your office furniture; when done properly, there’s much more to it than that. The concept hinges on an office design that is cohesive and works on multiple levels.
With many businesses working to improve mindfulness, workplace wellbeing, and employee retention, biophilic office design has become a popular solution. These new designs focus on creating “green areas” where employees can work, either alone or in groups, and relax.
What Are Its Benefits?
Like any popular trend, Pittsburgh businesses aren’t incorporating office design changes on a whim. It can take a bit of planning to achieve a truly biophilic office, but the benefits to both business owners and staff are well worth the effort. So, what are the full benefits of bringing nature into the workplace?
- Productivity: A greater choice of work areas, better air quality, and other factors contribute to better productivity in an office with biophilic design.
- Creativity: Natural light, more colorful spaces, and other natural office features create a more stimulating environment for employees. It’s only natural that creativity flows in these situations.
- Concentration: Though plant life isn’t the only aspect of biophilic office design, an increase in oxygen levels can help decrease mental fatigue for workers. The less fatigued employees feel, the more they can concentrate on their work.
- Staff Retention: Recruitment and training costs are expensive, which is why improving the wellbeing of your workplace can be so important. A happier, more engaged staff is much more likely to stick around.
How to Achieve a Biophilic Design
There are countless elements that can move your office towards a biophilic design. Whether you’re planning on working with a Pittsburgh office furniture dealer or working towards this design on your own, consider the following:
- Natural Light: Wherever possible, introduce natural lighting to your office. It’s difficult to achieve a biophilic design without the proper lighting and views to the actual outdoors.
- More Color: Believe it or not, the colors your office uses can impact wellbeing. Try to avoid dull colors and opt for brighter ones, like orange or blue.
- Utilize Outdoors: Roofs, balconies, patios, and gardens should be a centerpiece of your biophilic design, if possible. While some companies might not have these features, those that do should leverage the actual outdoors wherever possible.
- Wood and Stone: Adding these two textures can help give your office an outdoorsy feel. These natural features can especially be beneficial if your office doesn’t have outdoor spaces.
- Add Plants: Though it’s true that adding some plants to a current office design won’t make it biophilic, it’s also true that no biophilic design is complete without incorporating greenery into the workplace.
Biophilic office design is something that more and more Pittsburgh businesses are beginning to explore, and for good reason. With a host of benefits, this office design won’t be going out of style any time soon.