Did you know that office workers spend more time at their desk or workstation than they do in bed? In fact, Ambius research found that 40% of UK office workers spend just 15 minutes outdoors each day. This figure is particularly concerning when we consider that humans have an inherent need to connect with nature and living organisms – a theory called ‘biophilia’. In response to this theory, ‘biophilic design’ principles have emerged in interior design, which can lessen the impact of this separation by bringing natural elements indoors in a way that mimics outdoor environments. For employers who view wellness and wellbeing as crucial to their organisation, bringing the outside in and creating exposure to nature through interior landscaping can reap huge benefits.
Creating a biophilic environment in the workplace isn’t just about installing plants, however – it’s thinking about every feature of a room or space – from the ceiling to the floors. In fact, flooring is one interior design element that can often be forgotten but can have a big impact.
Our need to connect with nature can be fulfilled by many of our senses. It can be activated through sight – by seeing plants or natural light, smell – through ambient scents, such as fresh cotton, and touch – through different textures. By exploring biophilia through these various senses, office and facilities managers can create that connection to nature that humans crave and in turn demonstrate a brand’s ethos.
There are several ways employers are beginning to incorporate biophilic principles into flooring. By doing this they are creating something that not only looks great, but can create a memorable experience for an individual, as well as improving the wellbeing, performance, health, and creativity of employees.
Carpet is often the most practical flooring option for offices, but too often it appears in drab, neutral colours. Injecting a splash of colour into flooring can have a big impact in making a space look more lively and engaging. If you’re really looking to embrace biophilia, opting for green carpet – a colour associated with nature and the outdoors – could help create the link to nature that your employees desire.
Sustainably sourced and reclaimed woods
Wood is perhaps the most popular biophilic construction material, used for office features like tables, room dividers, doors and floors. In particular, reclaimed wood has started to become more popular thanks to its more natural and authentic appearance. The fact it’s recycled from its original purpose is also important from a sustainability perspective, helping drive the message that your business is environmentally mindful.
The feeling of a surface under foot can be quite a powerful sensation. For example, the feeling of walking barefoot on grass, or the sand between your toes on the beach is something that can last in the mind. Innovative designers are beginning to incorporate texture into floors. Materials such as indoor grass, natural stone, moss or elements from forest floors can be used as unique textures that create a clear link to the outdoors.
Flooring is a design element that is often underrated when it comes to bringing biophilic principles into the office. However, doing so can have a big impact on the working environment – boosting the sense of wellbeing amongst employees as well as improving productivity and creativity.