There's something rather remarkable about the way that nature has the ability to make you feel, think, and act differently. From the moment you first see the sea, smell freshly cut grass or feel adrenaline when you’re hiking; biophilia is at the core of being human.

What is biophilia?

Biophilia is the innate desire for humans to be in touch with nature through our surroundings. This is represented in the built environment through the use of natural finishes, indoor plants, and references to nature or its symmetry; all of which create a closer interaction with nature.

In the modern workplace, the token office plant has been a mainstay for decades but now biophilia is becoming an important consideration for any office design centred on staff wellbeing. So, what planted the seed for this popular trend?

Biophilia can boost wellbeing

There are subtle physical responses that the natural world brings out in our bodies. Increasing the level of natural light increases the level of melatonin in the body, while working next to natural plants will reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the air, allowing workers to feel more alert throughout the day. It’s been proven that the presence of nature can boost positive feelings, while reducing negative ones — helping to increase overall productivity. Being closer to the natural environment can even speed up healing and help reduce absenteeism due to sickness!

It can keep staff engaged

Biophilic design plays a big part in promoting staff engagement. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need to install a living wall right away; even a humble pot plant can begin to boost morale and focus! Plants can even act as a unifying element in office culture — for example, by introducing an 'adopt a plant' scheme, you can raise money for charity as well.

For example, you could surround your breakout and/or workspaces with plants to not only provide staff with additional privacy, but plants also help provide fresher air and there's an untouchable calming feeling that being in a garden evokes in us all.

Biophilia in the workplace
Biophilic office design ideas

Don't forget to let the light shine through

Exposure to natural light benefits employees both physically and mentally, however, it’s not always possible to provide everyone with a view. Previously, executive offices would enjoy the best locations in a building, yet office design trends are seeing more businesses putting communal spaces in these premium positions so that everyone can benefit.

Integrating biophilia into your workplace

The options are nearly endless; from living walls to pot plants and increased natural lighting, there are endless (and often easy) ways that you can incorporate biophilia into your new office design. It all just comes down to your budget, choice of materials, and the feeling you want to evoke in your employees.