Biophilia and COVID-19
As the world re-opens and the workforce re-enters the workplace, we continue to navigate what this new, post-pandemic office environment will look like.
One thing is certain, the global pandemic has created a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to our health, safety, and well-being.
Mental health awareness was magnified over our mandated quarantine, and as a result, how we work and how our workplace makes us feel is now under a microscope. This leads us to biophilic design and the impact biophilia has on our well-being.
What is biophilic design?
Biophilia is humankind’s innate biological connection with nature. For decades, theorists, research scientists, and design practitioners have been studying biophilic design and the impact it has on our satisfaction with built environments.
It helps explain the meditative state we feel when we hear rain or see the crackling of fire. It explains why a garden view can boost our creativity and productivity and why seeing crashing waves calms and captivates us.
Why is biophilic design important?
According to Harvard Medical, interacting with nature and natural spaces offers therapeutic benefits. For example, calming nature sounds is known to lower blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to Dr. Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, “Nature can have a powerful effect on our mental state and there are many ways to tap into it.”
New research and data indicate that biophilic design can have a profound effect on not only our mental health but our productivity and ability to focus while at work. Biophilic design is known to:
o reduce stress and anxiety
o improve cognitive function
o improve creativity
o improve our well-being
o expedite healing
o enhance productivity
o improve mental health and depression
o enhance overall well-being
Biophilic Solutions for Post-pandemic Spaces
It is unlikely our workplaces will return to their pre-pandemic function. While the post-COVID office landscape is still evolving, biophilia solutions remain flexible and are adaptable to what the future of the office will look like in the years to come.
Types of biophilic design solutions:
o Living Walls
o Acoustic Moss Walls
o Acoustic Moss Tiles
o Biophilic Furniture
o Views of Nature
o Imagery/ Artwork
o Printed Acoustic Panels
Biophilic design solutions for the post-pandemic office
As we get closer to a post-pandemic state of mind, current research suggests an increase in demand for biophilic designed spaces to enhance mental wellness and boost overall well-being.
Increase in live plants for better air filtration and cleansing
Planters used to divide and create socially spaced boundaries
Increase in new furniture designs incorporating biophilic solutions
Different Solutions for Different Spaces
Biophilic design is not just about adding plants and greenery to a workspace environment. It is about incorporating different elements of nature that resonate with humankind’s senses. Below is a list of additional considerations when incorporating biophilic solutions.