2019 was a big year in the world of office design as boundaries were continuously pushed, and biophilic design principles became an integral part of how modern workplaces are planned and managed. As we enter the new decade we reflect on the standout trends of 2019 that have changed the industry.
A recent Ambius report found that UK office workers are craving to work in more beautiful and inspiring workplaces. With employee expectations higher than ever before, employers are beginning to understand that ensuring the workplace is a positive and pleasant space to be in will not just improve staff morale – it will impact the business’s bottom line, with people likely to work more productively, and take less time off.
Biophilia – the theory that humans have an innate need to connect with nature and the natural environment – has encouraged designers to bring more natural elements into their offices so that they can engage employees through multiple senses. From increased use of sustainably sourced woods, to indoor plants and large living walls, biophilic design is transforming the modern-day office.
The feeling of a surface under foot can be quite a positive, memorable 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 office building 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.
Let there be light
There are now ways artificial light can help employees feel connected to the natural environment.
Biodynamic lighting involves introducing systems that mirror natural sunlight conditions. During winter months, or in offices with reduced access to natural light, this lighting innovation can help to regulate the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to employee moods being more consistently positive and productive, regardless of their proximity to a window.
During the dark winter months, low-light plants can be the perfect addition to any premises. Not only do they add a splash of colour, but they also require little to no maintenance. The same can be said for artificial plants, which look like the real thing, but can withstand changing office temperatures and don’t require water. Office plants aren’t limited to the warmer months, and alternatives such as low-light and artificial plants can be used to encourage productivity in the winter – a time when people need it most.
Take it outside
Whilst having indoor plants has always been considered an important part of office landscaping, companies are now considering the impact of their outdoor spaces and entrances on staff and visitors. Hanging baskets are a great addition to any establishment and are no longer just associated with the hospitality industry. Outside, hanging baskets can make the greyest of buildings more colourful and inviting, whilst indoors they can help to make more creative environments.
As we enter 2020, employers should look to improve office environments by adhering to the consumer demand for workplaces that reflect their natural surroundings. Biophilia was a prominent design feature in 2019 and will continue to be an important part of office design this year – improving both employee wellbeing and productivity.