Bringing Nature to the Workplace: Exploring the Power of Biophilic Design

13 Jul 2023

Interweaving nature in the workplace has become a core element in office interiors. It is highly beneficial. Apart from being an aesthetic decor choice, it has been proven to be beneficial to the well-being of those using the space. In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into the bond between humans and nature and the principles of this design.


The biophilic design philosophy

Biophilic design incorporates elements of urbanism, evolution, technology, and the natural environment. In essence, it’s all about being in harmony with the fundamentals of nature. It has become a trend and one that is here to stay. It has been popular not only among interior design circles but also in green design solutions that span from energy-saving architecture to ergonomic furniture.


There are many catalysts which continue to accelerate its adoption, including climate change, health consciousness, innovation, and a focus on mental well-being. According to a report by Terrapin Bright Green, implementing biophilic design elements in healthcare settings can lead to a 22% reduction in the need for pain medication, a 21% reduction in patient recovery time, and a 44% decrease in the likelihood of patients experiencing post-operative complications.


The bond between nature and humans

Biophilic design is a philosophy inspired by nature, which stems from the positive effects that being immersed in natural elements has on both the mind and body. With many suffering from burnout, working in a healthy environment has become more important than ever. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that exposure to natural elements in the workplace can result in a 40% reduction in cognitive fatigue. By consciously bringing the outdoors inside, offices can become inspiring places that drive people to perform at their best.


The bond between humans and nature dates back centuries. People have been inspired by nature, from finding perfect harmony and form to colour palettes and durable materials. There is an inherent evolutionary connection with nature within us as well, as numerous studies show how nature has great effects on one’s physical, mental, and soulful states.


Spending time in nature can restore this connection, which is precisely what biophilic design seeks to achieve. Breathing fresh air, listening to waves crashing, and feeling the warm embrace of sunlight are just some examples of healthy interactions we can have with nature. Research conducted by the University of Exeter revealed that employees working in offices with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, experienced a 15% increase in well-being and productivity.


Biophilic design incorporates tangible health benefits and has been proven to reduce stress levels, increase productivity, produce cleaner air, and boost creativity and morale. All in all, it creates a better looking and feeling space to work, where employees can be and feel their best in a happier environment. According to a survey conducted by Interface, a leading modular flooring company, 47% of respondents believed that access to nature and natural elements in the workplace would improve their overall happiness and well-being.


Biophilic design principles in practise

Biophilic design is relatively easy to incorporate into the office. Here’s a look at the key principles and ways to apply them in the workplace.



Incorporating earthy colour schemes is a great way to set the scene of a natural environment. This could be neutral tones like sandy brown furnishings and pearly white walls. You can also experiment with bolder colours found in nature, from inspiring green tones to calming blues and invigorating reds.



There are many ways to be inspired by natural design. Shapes, for instance, can provide dimensionality and harmony, from circles to spirals and hexagons. This can also extend to patterns and textures which can be featured on walls and in decor accessories like fabrics.



One of the most important aspects of biophilic design is light. Capitalising on natural light is essential as it brightens the space both physically and metaphorically. Well-lit spaces energise the mind and lift the spirits. It is also important to carefully consider your light sources as this can affect the mood in a space.



There are many ways to incorporate plant life in the workplace. It can be achieved using visuals such as images on the walls, or it can be living plants. A great alternative to this is artificial plants which require less maintenance but still achieve the same look and feel.


Biophilic design is not confined to office spaces. You can apply these principles to outdoor areas like a rooftop terrace or home office spaces as well. These natural elements will create an inspiring environment where you can be productive and enjoy a well-balanced home-work life. A study conducted by Human Spaces found that employees working in environments with natural elements, such as plants and natural light, reported a 15% higher level of well-being and creativity, and a 6% increase in productivity.


Welcome the power of nature into your workspace and watch as all the benefits come to life. Biophilic design taps into the wonders of nature in a way that benefits the mind and body. It can be incorporated into all types of spaces and in many ways, without space and budget limitations.


Ready to explore more biophilic design? Speak with the team at OFIS about your dream workplace.

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