How does biophilia influence work at the office? - Alternativ

Biophilia is a concept based on inviting nature inside a living space, an office. The latest fad? Absolutely not. Several studies have shown the positive impact introducing natural elements in the office on the well-being and productivity of the employees. A word of explanation.

We owe the notion of biophilia to Edward O. Wilson, an internationally renowned American biologist and father of biodiversity. For this brilliant Harvard professor, man has an innate biological need to connect with the living, with nature, in order to evolve – a statement backed by numerous studies which tend to prove the positive effect of introducing biophilia in places where people live and work.

Nature as a place of healing? Several research studies in psychology and cognitive sciences confirm the benefits provided by the sea, the mountain, the forest, the wind, and water. Every visual link with nature reduces blood pressure and the stress hormone rate in the blood.

Bring nature in the office…

How do we reconnect with nature in the office in concrete terms?

· By putting green plants in the work spaces. Vegetating offices is said to have a positive impact on the quality of the air, on reducing stress, soothing relief, inspiration and creativity.

·  By opting for an office bathed with natural light! Beatriz Arantes, a researcher at Steelcase provides alarming figures drawn from a world report on human spaces:  “42% of office workers work in places without natural light.” And yet we know that light improves the morale (as demonstrated by the psychiatrist Normal Rosenthal in1984), facilitates learning, stimulates cognition and improves performance!

… or evoke it!

We can bring nature in an interior or… evoke it!  Steelcase* researchers have accordingly introduced materials and elements from nature in office spaces, but they also worked on the colours, textures and biomorphic patterns which evoke nature, known as biophilic design. 

We can in fact “fool our brain into thinking that it is in a natural environment,” Beatriz Arantes points out.

The Steelcase brands (Coalesse and Designtex) have thus created a fabric where the pattern evokes the undulation of water, sand and earth, for a soothing effect guaranteed! Colours and natural materials, organic forms like spirals, domes (there are no right angles in nature!) and all the patterns that echo a natural form, will henceforth be introduced in your different office spaces to ensure the well-being of people at work.

* To find out more about biophilia in the office and our biophilic design offer, do not hesitate to contact us. Alternativ is the official Belgian partner of Steelcase, the American leader in office furnishings and fixtures.

To know everything about tomorrow’s world of work, we strongly recommend the ultra-documented reading, the 306° magazine of our partner Steelcase!

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