Sarah Bartley is an entrepreneur who launched Fern and Noble earlier in 2016. She sources and consults on modular green-installations for businesses who wish to embrace biophilic design. Representing a number of European manufacturers Fern & Noble handles the entire process, from ordering to installation and after-care. Today, she discusses the importance of office greening…
Be More Creative & Less Stressed at Work
What if the place you worked was somewhere you looked forward to going every day? What if it brought out the best in you? Inspired you and helped you to achieve your goals? What is necessary to create this environment? Companies like Google, Microsoft and Virgin claim to have the answer. And they’ve heavily invested in what they believe is the key. Biophilic design, a 70 year old concept, is the latest employee engagement measure to be skilfully implemented at purpose built offices around the globe.
Biophilic design was first recognised in the 1950s. And is centred upon using natural elements to create healthier and greener work environments. These work environments then generate measurable benefits for employee and business performance. Evidence supports that employees who are in close proximity to living plants are more productive. Alongside this, they show more creativity in their work and are less stressed. As a result, this achieves greater employee satisfaction and less absenteeism. Plus, they stay longer in their roles!
The key factor is a change in purpose from being objects of decoration to being understood as regenerative assets. These give back more than they take and make a positive contribution to the work being done. Increasingly, we see plants being used in functional ways to support employee wellbeing, enjoyment and job functions.
Break-out zones where trees grow through the tables encourage collaboration and community. Planted desk screens maintain boundaries and offer privacy to work. Leafy green dividers shield valued chill-out areas. And they create natural corridors, which then improve traffic flow. They do this by guiding guests and workers to meeting rooms and exits. Combined, it creates a calmer and enjoyable place to work. One which attracts the best talent, keeps them longer and makes the company a highly prised place to work.
“Increasingly, we see plants being used in functional ways to support employee wellbeing, enjoyment and job functions.”
Once we understand the many ways plants improve the work environment, what options are available to us to kick-off this change today? Experts estimate that 1 plant per 100sq foot is enough to bring about these benefits. For new construction, architects draw in this additional plantscape. But what if, like most companies in the UK, your office space is leased? For the majority of businesses a built in landscape is not an option. And planter pots – however well set out – do not provide the same regenerative or aesthetic effect.
The answer is within biophilic design. Well-designed products that can be assembled on site. And that can be secured to the existing structure without damage or be completely mobile to allow for optimum flexibility and utility. Cities like Milan, Copenhagen and Amsterdam have used these purpose built designs for over a decade to transform sharp-angled grey offices into lush green work environments.
In built-up areas today there are more options than ever to create these kind of restorative spaces. Better health and wellbeing and greater success are on offer. New vertical gardening methods and maintenance technologies make it easier than ever to create green landscapes in places never before possible. We will all feel better for it. Why not take advantage now?
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