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Biophilic Office Designs Increase Employee Productivity?

Monday, October 05, 2015
By Dominic Rebello

A Global study reveals that employees who work in environments with natural elements report to a 15% higher level of well-being, are 6% more productive and 15% more creative. So what is it all about?

A hint of natural elements such as plants or a water body not only give offices an inviting feel, but also help in boosting the productivity of the people working there. After all, nature continues to nurture no matter where it is. Using colours such as green, blue and yellow that are found in abundance in nature not only lends your office an attractive look but also ensures that your employees are cheerful and feel motivated to work smarter and better.
So here's a simple question for you – what kind of office would you prefer to work in? One that's dank, boring and closed off or one that's open, fabulously designed and has open spaces with plenty plants and natural light? Most people would unhesitatingly pick the second one and the reason for that, apart from pleasant aesthetics, has got a lot to do with biophilia.

So what is biophilia? Simply put, it is the innate relationship between humans and nature. The theory that being surrounded by nature or natural elements brings out the best in people – in terms of their behaviour, attitude and productivity is backed by solid research. To cite an example, a study conducted in 2004 asking people to describe their ideal city had most people choose non-urban characteristics, with emphasis on greenery. So conclusively, one of the best ways to boost productivity in office is by introducing nature in some form to the office décor in the form of biophilic design.
Interface, the renowned international modular flooring experts commissioned a global study on The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace led by organizational psychologist, Professor Sir Cary Cooper to understand how biophilic design in office affects employees. To sum up, the report revealed that employees who work in environments with natural elements report to a 15% higher level of well-being, are 6% more productive and 15% more creative.

Spanning over sixteen countries and over 7,600 office employees, the report concluded that office design was an important criteria for choosing a job with 67% people in India stating that it influenced their decision in picking a job. According to this study, the ideal biophilic work spaces in India that employees preferred (in order of preference) included natural light, indoor plants, neutral colours, outdoor garden and view of a lake.

The report further stated that employees in Indian offices with natural environments and elements comprising greenery and sunlight showed a 10% higher level of well being, are 8% more productive and 11% more creative. The disappointing fact is not just that these numbers are lower than their global counterparts but also that in India, an alarming 49% offices have no natural lights and 53% have no plants.

Talking about the findings generated by the report, Executive Creative Director at Interface, Chip DeGrace said, “Biophilic design is the art of understanding how nature can influence us and how we can bring those sort of influences into the spaces within which we work. By incorporating simple design elements which help to create a connection with nature, a business could potentially boost the productivity of its employees by 6% - a significant benefit to the bottom line of any company.”

So, how do we increase the human-nature connection and ensure the overall well-being of our employees? The answer to that is simple: Biophilic Design.

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