Rosalyn Cama, president of Cama Inc., an interior design firm, used to run an informal poll when she went to conferences. She would ask hundreds of designers to recall a time when they were extremely stressed. She then asked them where they would like to go if they had the option to escape that stress.
Over the thirteen years she asked that question, the results were always the same: 95% of participants said they would go somewhere outdoors and natural as opposed to indoors and built or manufactured.
This really isn’t a surprise. There is plenty of research to show that regular exposure to green spaces improves mental health and cognitive function. It reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes, improves pregnancy outcomes and increases longevity. So it makes sense that most people crave the great outdoors in times of stress and overwhelm. Dubai has also recognised this in its city design, with a major increase in green oases being built.
One of the many considerations the pandemic has brought to light is the need for “well” workplaces. For many corporations, that means creating biophilic work spaces—bringing the outdoors indoors. More and more building designers are redesigning workplaces to create an ambience of nature, provide better air filtration and use sustainable materials.
Many consider biophilic design to be the long-term future of architecture and design. But you don’t have to build a workplace from the ground up to integrate more nature into the work environment. There are several things you can do to improve the health and well-being of your employees by bringing the outdoors into your office.
- Change out the wall art. Studies show that even looking at visuals of nature reduces mental fatigue.
- Provide a clear view of the outdoors when possible. Open the blinds and let in some natural light.
- Invest in better lighting. Office lighting not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the office. It also affects your employees’ performance.
- Create outdoor spaces such as small community gardens. Let employees take breaks or even work outside.
- Bring plants inside. Well-tended indoor plants can transform a room, making it feel open and airy.
- Invite in animals. A well-kept fish tank can be a great way to integrate nature into the workplace.
- Re-paint with natural colours. If it’s time for an update to the building anyway, consider choosing natural tones that are calming and easy on the eyes.
As companies continue to adapt to a world post-pandemic, it is clear that employees have seen the possibilities beyond the status quo. They’ve had time to really think about what they want and need in a work environment.
Biophilic design is not a passing trend. The health benefits of being outdoors are not new and have long been recognised in the medical community. Taking these small steps toward creating a well workplace is a great way to show employees you care while improving their health, well-being and productivity.
As we start the new year, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of your company goals. OLAM Group would love to help you. Let us together enhance your employees’ health, well-being and performance by integrating your HR plans and initiatives into your organisation’s strategy. Schedule a call with us today.