Within recent years, employers have become increasingly aware that employee well being has a direct and pronounced impact on business success. With this in mind, the office environment has been the focus of plentiful modern research. Interior design, office layout and the general work environment are all carefully crafted aspects of the best London offices. Most recently, researchers have discovered the importance of biophilic design within the office environment.
What is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic design utilises the positive effects that natural elements have on human beings. It is becoming widely recognised that humans have an innate connection with nature and that exposure to it, particularly within the built environment, has many encouraging effects on wellbeing. Today, the best London offices include biophilia in the design of their workspace; many people now even consider biophilia as a necessity rather than a luxury.
What are the Human Benefits?
According to the Human Spaces Report, the simple presence of natural elements in the workplace can act as a buffer against the negative impact of job stress and positively impact general well-being.
Exposure to basic features such as plants and natural light also prevent fatigue when working on tasks that require high levels of concentration or attention. Including plants and natural imagery within the workplace is especially useful to combat the lack of daylight throughout British winters.
Productivity also increases when employees are around biophilia. These positive effects are generally subconscious and subtle; people are typically unaware of their improved performance or sentiments due to biophilia.
Elements of Biophilic Design
Many people often-associate biophilic office design with greenery, believing the best London offices are those drowning in foliage however, this is not necessarily true. Biophilic design involves many components from colour, access to outdoor space, exposure to natural light and scenes of nature.
One major advantage that interior plants do provide however is improved productivity. Research has shown that office employees, in the UK particularly, benefit from higher productivity rates when there is a leafy presence within the office. This Work.Life office in Hackney incorporates foliage into its on-trend and uplifting interiors beautifully.
Findings within the Human Spaces Report also suggest natural elements do not necessarily have to be real to be effective. The simple image of greenery across office walls, furniture and flooring can have positive reactions when successfully recreated. Designs within the best London offices manage to mimic the patterns, forms and textures of nature accurately, triggering the same responses as the real thing; again, highly useful for dark winter evenings suffered by those in London offices.
The natural elements that produce the most positive effects on UK employees include natural light, wood and stone materials. It is quite common within the best London offices to see plentiful reclaimed wood while a large proportion of centres already incorporate wooden flooring. The Boutique Workplace Company’s Southwark Bridge Road is an awe-inspiring building where natural light and wood combine to create a beautiful, uplifting workspace.
Techspace’s Luke Street is an example of an office that features brilliant use of stone. The below meeting room comes decorated in completely natural colours while the carpeting resembles an exterior stone floor. A selection of beanbags also resemble boulders waiting for you to take a seat.
Utilising and Recreating Outdoor Space
For those offices fortunate enough to have the use of outdoor space, it is important that employees utilise this luxury. Natural light and views of/access to the outdoors have a significant impact on employee well being, productivity and energy levels.
The best London offices provide comfortable seating, Wi-Fi connectivity and tables within their outdoor space making it more attractive to employees in the summer months. Balconies, garden space and roof terraces are all great opportunities to improve employee wellbeing. The beautiful courtyard below for example is a feature of Halkin‘s Brook Street offices.
Outdoor space within Central London however is a rarity and spending any time outside is typically very difficult. The best London offices have recently developed design features to overcome this obstacle by incorporating grass-like floors and rough textures as well as sky ceilings into the workplace. WeWork’s Waterhouse Square building is one such example; this building features a ‘living wall’ within one of its cosy breakout spaces.
Effects on Business
Offices that do not take steps to safeguard their employee well-being are likely to suffer a concept termed ‘presenteeism’. This refers to employees who report to work but due to low well-being or disengagement, are less focused and productive. According to a Government Foresight study, figures suggest the scale of the issue within the UK is costing businesses £1billion a year. This is 1.3 times more costly to businesses than absenteeism.
Simply including green space and biophilic design within the office will, on average, increase feelings of happiness, creativity and motivation while reducing anxiety and boredom in employees entering the workplace.
Another positive consequence of biophilic design for business is how highly it scores in sustainability metrics at planning stage.
The Best London Offices Using Biophilic Design
Many large, mainly tech, corporations have always been leaders in design, producing some of the best London offices ever crafted. The inclusion of biophilia in centres designed for Google, Innocent and Facebook represent a huge understanding of this concept’s benefits.
Biophilic guru, Oliver Heath, founder of Heath Design, explained to ‘Real Views’: “It is emerging science and style. In the last six months, there has been a dramatic increase in interest. Those at the forefront of workplace design have grasped the idea, so companies like Apple, Amazon and Google are running with it.”
Londonoffices have many phenomenally designed workspaces that incorporate biophilia and promote employee well-being throughout their portfolio. If this concept interests you, contact one of our consultants on +44(0)2071667981 to find the best London offices available.