Across the world, more and more companies are moving towards workplace designs that improve wellbeing and mental health, but perhaps an even greater demand is for sustainable work environments. As the world grapples with a global climate crisis, businesses more than ever before are embracing the shift towards sustainable design and moving towards open office spaces to enable teams to safely connect and enjoy the restorative effects of nature.
Apart from keeping up with the workspace design “trends”, why are more companies invested in green office workspaces?
According to Unily’s 2020 Future of the Sustainable Workplace report, 65% of office workers surveyed were more likely to work for a company with a strong environmental policy. This signals that sustainability is now playing a role in talent attraction and retention thus motivating companies to increase their attention to sustainable practices.
The past two years have drastically changed the way we collaborate. With many teams now working remotely online at home, some physical, although socially distanced interactions are necessary for certain collaborative projects. In this regard, co-working spaces, which are known for their biophilic designs and outdoor workspaces, offer a relatively safer alternative to the confines of traditional office space and collaborative lags of virtual meetings.
What is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic design is an architectural concept that has emerged to lessen the separation between people and nature. The goal of biophilic design is to harness the energizing and restorative power of Mother Nature to contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of its inhabitants.
Workspaces can adapt a biophilic design through simple changes such as incorporating natural elements, for example having indoor plants, and tall windows for more natural light to mimic an outdoor environment. Think of it like working in a tranquil green room with all the functionality of conventional office space.
But there is nothing that beats the real thing! Not only are coworking spaces such as Ikigai Lower Kabete and Ikigai Westlands, biophilically designed with plants in the interior, they also offer ample and lush garden spaces, perfect for socially distanced collaboration.
Pre or post corona, there are many benefits to working outside in nature and surrounding your interior with greenery.
Below is a summary of 3 key benefits that companies can expect to see by choosing biophilic office workspaces.
Outdoor workspaces create a sense of peace
We are living in an era filled with tech fatigue and high-stress levels. Working in a garden can help to break the monotony of sitting in a traditional office space. In order to maintain momentum and levels of productivity throughout the day, it helps to work in a space where team members can step aside and recharge their minds and bodies for a few minutes. People can recharge under the sun and increase their vitamin D levels, or take a few minutes to reflect, meditate or clear the mind in a cool and quiet corner of the garden.
Furthermore, garden workspaces are multifunctional – there is enough space for work and play. In gardens, members can get their blood flowing by taking a walk or stretching out their limbs without inhibitions of curious eyes and the physical limitations of a traditional office space. Many co-working spaces, such as Ikigai, offer workplace wellness programs that include but are not limited to complimentary yoga sessions for members, which serves as a great way for teams to bond and interact in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Plants are air purifying and reduce noise
Air purifying plants such as ferns, Peace lilies, and snake plants, can help to reduce pollutants, allergies, and at the same time help promote cognitive functions. Plants are also able to absorb sounds to minimize the effect of background office noise.
Plants Can Help Elevate Moods, Cognition, and Boost Focus and Productivity
Studies have tied plants to reduced stress, reduced mental fatigue, and subsequently increased creativity and productivity.
For one, the colours in nature have a significant impact on mood and cognition. Studies have shown that yellow and red can trigger greater attention spans, while green has been shown to enhance creativity.
In a scenic environment, a team’s mood and morale are positively amplified compared to conventional office spaces, and therefore teams are also more likely to come up with problem-solving solutions quicker, as well as being more open to compromise.
Researchers in Norway discovered that subjects who did attention-based tasks and reading surrounded by greenery improved their performance score more over time compared to those not surrounded by greenery. How you may ask? It is as simple as ripping your eyes for a moment from your laptop screen to gaze outside into the garden or stare at a desk plant, to give your mind a mental break and the ability to restore your focus.
These factors combined make working in gardens ideal for collaborative teamwork.
Click here to book a tour and explore how Ikigai’s outdoor working spaces can enrich your workforce’s well-being and productivity.