2022 Office Trends Series: Biophilic Design in the Workplace

Biophilic…. It doesn’t even sound like a real word, does it? And yet, this is one of the largest office trends of 2022! Biophilic design is, in its simplest form, the act of joining together the natural and urban spheres into a single area, in order to bring people into close contact with the nature humans are hardwired to best function in.

Image from: https://www.thespruce.com/best-office-plants-4169917

Studies have shown that when a person is allowed to rest, even momentarily, from regular office work and switch their focus towards a natural space, be it large or small, productivity and creativity drastically increase in the workplace. Shifting the focus of the brain to an unpredictable, natural space brings different areas of the mind to bear, promoting creative problem solving, loss of tension, and new energy in a project.

Any office can benefit from even the lightest edge of biophilic design. Simple shifts like adding soft, natural colors and textures to the office, including houseplants to group spaces, or even adding an aquarium as a natural space divider can aid in crafting a biophilic office space. Blues, greens, and other natural shades can mimic the feeling of a forest, while creams and golden tones bring to mind open fields. Check out the warm tones of some of our Office Chairs for inspiration and a sleek modern design filled with natural appeal. Increasing natural light is also a large boost in the workplace, according to K2 Space.

Certain types of houseplants work well in offices, especially sun-loving ones. Snake plants, ivy, various succulents, tropicals, ferns, bonsai, and flowering plants such as African violets and orchids can all be good choices to aid in shaping the biophilic office. Tending to these plants gives employees a moment to think separately from the business mindset, falling into a creative flow. The increase in oxygen from plants can also be beneficial to the office. Tall Office Desks with Hutches give plenty of vertical space for sunlight and vining plants to tumble.

Simple, easily maintained aquariums can provide noise dampening, can bring a spot of bright color into the office, and the soft sound of running water offers a gentle white noise in the office. Aquariums in the office have been proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate, drastically decreasing stress in the workplace. Fanciful finned fish such as fancy goldfish, bettas, guppies, cichlids, or even freshwater shrimp are easy to maintain and act as brilliant jewels among the foliage of a well-planted tank. Credenzas can be easily repurposed to hold an aquarium on the surface, while the base is still open for storage. Smaller tanks can be personalized for individual offices as well, and tuck easily on the rear of a deep Executive Desk.

A true biophilic office integrates nature throughout, offering a union between the natural world and the business sphere. Some offices are designed from the ground up to allow trees to grow freely through open areas, shaping an indoor woodland throughout the building. Others tuck bushes and vines around corners to create natural walls and room dividers without a solid edge. Large windows give the feel of being outdoors, with no obvious break between the indoor and outdoor area. Glass Desks can create an illusion of open space even in a smaller office, keeping the room from feeling enclosed.

By weaving together the natural world with the modern office, biophilic design allows for natural relaxation and peace to fill an office space, shaping it into a place where employees wish to be during the day, a productive and enjoyable area.

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