Benefits of Natural Elements in Design

Salary and benefits aren’t the only players in attracting and retaining great talent these days. Company culture and workplace environments play a huge role in an individual’s decision to join a new company.

And why shouldn’t they?

Most of us spend more time in the office per week than anywhere else so it stands to reason that we’d rather spend all that time in an environment that supports mental health, fosters creativity and provides a lower stress atmosphere.

natural light and wood tables in office design

Colors found in nature and large windows with views of natural elements help individuals get a dose of the outside even when at work. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. This stat becomes even more upsetting when you consider that this averages out to about one half of one day per week spent outside.

While in most cases it is not conducive to work outside – with sunlight glares on computer screens, Segway tours and beautiful trees distracting us – there are alternatives that can provide similar benefits to those naturally derived from a walk in the woods.

natural light in office design

The natural light in this conference room provides users with a well-lit creative space to meet

Providing employees with plenty of access to natural light goes a long way in increasing worker satisfaction and reducing overall stress. We all benefit from the warmth bestowed to us by the sun's rays just as we all wilt and cringe under the harsh fluorescent lighting beneath which most of us unfortunately sit. 

biophillic commercial office design

Environments like this one at 929 Bellevue Office Towers allow employees and visitors to benefit from natural light and and natural wood furniture even while indoors.

Incorporating natural elements is a growing trend in workplace design as studies continue to reveal the tendency toward higher productivity and creativity levels in office spaces employing biophilic design.

Choosing a color palate consisting of shades found in nature, adding living walls and potted plants to define spaces and working with natural elements like wood over manmade surfaces all contribute to the look and feel of a workspace that values user wellbeing. 

natural office furniture

It may not be practical to work outdoors, but we can still hope

We are all attracted to nature. Even as we find ourselves taking it for granted, one moment in the sun, with the breeze dancing with the trees in a chorus we can all recall, brings us a peace we cannot find anywhere else. It is a love affair, often referred to as biophilia, and it cannot be tamed.

So why fight it, especially when there is so much proof professing its benefits to employees and employers alike? Let's instead embrace our connection to this planet and all it gives us and find a way to bring it into our work-centered lives.

And just maybe we'll be so productive we'll get to go outside more than one half of one day a week.


  • Posted by John Wells on

    Well said! Thanks Amanda ; )

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