The 3rd of March marks World Wildlife Day – an initiative introduced by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. World Wildlife Day will be celebrated under the theme “Sustaining all life on Earth”, encompassing all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity.
As we approach this day, it’s important to remember the power of nature and how it impacts our lives: physically and mentally. Not only does nature sustain humans at a very basic level, research conducted by the University of Oxford reveals that maintaining a connection to plants and nature can also makes us feel better and vastly improve our mental wellbeing. This supports the concept we often talk about called “biophilia”, based on the idea that humans have an innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment.
Embracing the natural world is a vital consideration for the workplace, particularly when you consider that 40% of UK office workers spend just 15 minutes outdoors each day. Thinking sustainably and bringing a bit of the outside in, can boost employee productivity, wellness and even reduce sick days. Here a few current office design trends that can help connect employees with nature:
Keep it green
More and more organisations are expanding their plant-based design features to include living walls and moss walls, which help transform indoor or urban spaces into something natural and beautiful. It goes without saying that green walls boast the same wellness benefits as plants such as helping to remove toxins from the air, increasing oxygen levels and fostering calming environments which provide wellbeing benefits for employees as well as a positive impression for guests or visitors.
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. Rather than relying on the widely used medium-density fibreboard (MDF), reclaimed wood has started to become more popular and has a more natural and authentic appearance. The fact it’s recycled from its original purpose is also important from a sustainability perspective.
Flooring and Restoring
Flooring designers are beginning to incorporate the unique elements of biophilic design, such as natural stone, wood and forest floors into flooring designs, with the goal to create natural textures that have similar qualities to being outside. 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.
Divide and Prosper
Rather than using traditional dividers to create cubicles or private spaces in rooms, designers are starting to use more natural materials. Green wall dividers are a new space-enhancing element, resolving many challenges that face open office environments, such as creating quiet areas for meetings and calls. They’re agile and adaptable for dynamic workspaces, while incorporating a natural biophilic component cost effectively.
World Wildlife Day is the perfect time to assess the natural elements of your workplace and how you can help employees connect with the outside world by bringing it in with biophilic design features. For more information about the latest biophilic design trends, read our report, or contact your local Ambius office.