Paul Dare

By Paul Dare
Head of Design - London |

We recently held a live webinar where our two heads of design, Paul Dare and Adrian Norman, discussed upcoming office design trends to help you focus your fit out investment in the right place.

This is the fourth post in our follow-up series, which explores the topics in more depth. Paul discusses why biophilia needs to form a part of your wellbeing strategy, and goes well beyond the humble office pot plant.

Businesses with healthy and happy staff enjoy high levels of staff morale, productivity and ultimately long-term profit. But there are so many elements to wellbeing it can be overwhelming to know where to start. However broken down to its simplest form, biophilic design is the use of natural products in a space to help humans connect with nature.

The core areas of biophilia

When we consider integrating wellness strategies into office design, there are four areas we look at: environment (biophilia, air quality, temperature and light), physical (movement and nutrition), social (a sense of belonging) and psychological (stress and relaxation).

Biophilic benefits

We typically spend 90% of our time indoors, with only 35% of the workforce getting just 15 minutes outdoors on any particular day. As humans our instinct is to gravitate towards nature quite simply because it makes us feel better. This is why incorporating biophilia is a simple way to look after employees. There’s proof that both direct and indirect natural elements in the office reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rate, whilst increasing productivity, creativity and general wellbeing. Our own workplace studies have shown an uptick of productivity by as much as 8% and wellbeing rates by 13%!

What about in high density offices?

Even the humble pot plant is a great start to bring nature into high density spaces. To enable the most benefit, it's good to strategically place your biophilic features in high-traffic areas or in locations where they can be seen. You could use moss walls in busy corridors, wood in thoroughfares, or pot plants to finish off dividing partitions - the list goes on!

Whether you have a plant at the end of your desk or you can see the living wall at the end of the corridor from your seat, the benefits are the same. It’s about surrounding ourselves with nature and bringing the outdoors inside. Even just having the colour green in your space can make a difference when it comes to biophilia.

The bottom line

So what does this mean for your office? Firstly, it means office plants and living walls are 100% justifiable additions to any workspace. Secondly, simply incorporating colour palettes and graphics inspired by nature or using wood and other natural materials can create an atmosphere which provides similar spin-off benefits.

The Future of Office Design Series

1. The Connected Office

2. The Future of Co-Working

3. Flexible Furniture

» Biophilia

5. Controlling Acoustics