Businesses are being encouraged to become ‘biophilic’ as a way to ensure employees are able to be as productive as they can be. Simple things, like making sure there are plants about the office, can improve productivity by as much as 30%.
Nature-inspired office design can reduce negative outcomes, but many companies are losing out. Almost 60% of Australian businesses do not have plants in their workspaces.
“Since most of us work long hours in closed office environments, biophilic or nature inspired design is an important consideration for workplaces. This can mean providing natural light, clean air or a connection to living things such as plants” said Graeme Armeni, national technical manager at Ambius.
“In fact, research has found that a leafy office can reduce stress and negativity by up to 60% and improve productivity by up to 30%."
Having plants in workspaces can improve air quality. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted from synthetic materials, can cause headaches, loss of concentration and eye, nose and throat problems. Carbon dioxide has been linked to drowsiness.
“Our research proves that plants can reduce potentially harmful VOCs by 80% and CO2 by up to 25%, so the health benefits are significant,” said Dr Fraser Torpy of the University of Technology Sydney.
“Employers will also be interested to hear that this cleaner air leads to clearer thinking which in turn promotes greater productivity and efficiency.”
There are some simple (and cheap) things that your planning firm can do to make workspaces more ‘biophilic’, including:
installing potted plants, especially greenery;
making the most of natural light;
providing clean air;
and encouraging employees to brighten their workspaces with flowers.
“Research shows that indoor plants can have a direct impact on employee wellbeing and business performance,” said Dr Anthony Kachenko, environmental & technical policy manager at the Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
“Adopting biophilic design and incorporating plants into the workplace can help create an optimal working space that breeds productivity and calmness”.