Should a ‘work’ place be any different from the other spaces people inhabit? The relationship between individuals and their environment can be a crucial determinant of how they feel, perform and interact with others. So, designing spaces that inspire, energize and support the people who use them is a global imperative. People’s connection to nature – biophilia– is an emergent field that can help organizations meet that challenge.
The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace - A unique study from Interface, the largest manufacturer of carpet in the world, explores the relationship between psychological well-being, work environments and employee expectations on a global scale for the first time.
Background to Biophilia
Biophilic design is a response to the human need to connect with nature and works to re-establish this contact in the built environment. Ultimately, biophilic design is the theory, science and practice of creating buildings inspired by nature, with the aim to continue the individual’s connection with nature in the environments in which we live and work every day.
In today’s contemporary built environment, people are increasingly isolated from the beneficial experience of natural systems and processes. Yet it is often natural settings that people find particularly appealing and aesthetically pleasing. So, by mimicking these natural environments within the workplace, we can create workspaces that are imbued with positive emotional experiences. It is often the case that we don’t take enough time to immerse ourselves in nature or appreciate the living systems that exist everywhere around us, making it vital for us to incorporate nature into our day-to-day environments.
The findings in the study emphasize the dramatic impact that even simple changes to incorporate nature in the workplace can have on how employees feel when they come to work, and how happy, creative and productive they feel when they are working. This should encourage organizations to consider these effects and take action to incorporate biophilic design practices into the workspace. While the primary focus of this report is employee well-being, productivity and creativity, we also pay attention to measures of happiness, enthusiasm and motivation in examining how bringing nature into the workplace can elicit these positive emotions.
Global Key Findings
- A third (33%) of office workers say that the design of an office would affect their decision to work at a company.
- Only 42% report having live plants in the office and an alarming 47% report having no natural light in their office.
- Almost a fifth (19%) of respondents report that there are no natural elements present in their office.
- Just under half (47%) of all respondents agree that they have felt stressed in their workplace within the last three months. This finding emphasizes the importance of identifying and enforcing practises that can improve well-being at work – such as biophilic design.
- Two thirds (67%) of respondents report feeling happy when walking into bright office environments accented with green, yellow or blue colors.
- 24% of respondents say that their workplace does not provide them with a sense of light and space.
- 39% of workers felt most productive at their own desk in a private office. Others said they felt most productive at their own desk in an open plan office (36%).
- 28% of respondents report that they do not have a quiet space to work in their office.