Employees in Plant- and Light-Filled Workspaces Feel Better

So says a new survey. Adhering to biophilic design principles had additional benefits as well, including increased productivity.
Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA
Image courtesy Genzyme Corporation

Workplaces, all over the world, are now focusing on the middle ground of indoor/outdoor, biophilic design, taking a cue from the human tendency to want to interact with nature. Since most of us spend up to 90% of our time indoors, we yearn to connect with the outdoors, whether we verbalize this need or not. And yet we rarely get the opportunity to make this essential connection to nature. What we need is LEED certified interiors that talk about biophilia.

Genzyme Corporation, Cambridge, MA
Image courtesy Genzyme Corporation

The problem with the LEED system is that it’s basically a low environmental impact approach, a checklist that lends itself very much to the technical way of measuring things,” Stephen Kellert, a senior research scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and author of the book, Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, told OfficeMax Workplace Interiors’ Impact magazine, “Biophilic design is a little bit more expansive.”

The Impact cover story, titled “Outside Influence,” focuses on the return on investment of incorporating the natural world into the work environment, not only in terms of well-being and healthfulness, but also employee retention and higher productivity.  The article describes a development by Next Phase Studios during the construction of the new headquarters for Genzyme Corporation, a biotechnology company whose office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was designed in 1991. The building emphasized a central atrium, indoor gardens, and windows with the ability to open. An employee survey pool suggested that 88% of employees felt a greater sense of wellbeing, and also that productivity, specifically of senior staff, increased between 3-6%.

Could the survey results indicate that the older generation, the senior staff, was more affected by the introduction of natural elements than the junior staff? Read the Impact article here.

This article is sponsored by OfficeMax Workplace Interiors. Stay tuned for the last installment in this three-part series.

Categories: Sponsored, Workplace Interiors