Are you designing or redesigning your office space? Want happier and more productive employees at the same time? Then a nature-inspired office design might be exactly what you're looking for.
What is nature-inspired office design? Simply put, it's an intentional effort to mimic and incorporate natural elements into what is traditionally a very unnatural indoor environment. Here are 5 ways to invite the outdoors into your work space using layout, architecture, and decoration.
Incorporating greenery into your office design is not only a visual or emotional benefit but also helps keep the air healthy. Progressive office design includes more than just sticking a potted ficus in the reception area. A row of tall potted plants can replace a wall to provide privacy with a natural barrier. Cubicles are even available that feature grass growing along the top of the short walls.
Interior courtyards are another popular option for bringing a little nature inside. Spaces with outside wall access can host a small indoor courtyard easily: install one large window or a bank of windows and plant a small tree as a centerpiece for some flowering plants or (ideally) a small patch of grass. A few comfortable chairs will encourage employees to take breaks in this little retreat. If an outside wall is not available, try a skylight or even a shaft leading to an upper-floor skylight.
Natural stone can be easily added to planned or existing architectural elements to help bring the outdoors in. Using natural stone on the walls of the reception or conference room area along with complementary desk designs helps soften a visitor's arrival and transition him or her to your nature-inspired office.
Water is an integral part of human existence and its presence is soothing to the soul. You can add design elements that feature water into any office area with something as simple as a small bubbling fountain. Larger rain walls not only provide a comforting sound but also add interest to a boring wall or blank space. For a truly fun office addition, why not consider an aquarium? While it may require a little more maintenance, living creatures and underwater beauty can provide employees with a common interest and a quick pick-me-up.
Office workers suffer from an egregious lack of natural lighting. Too often, employees are stuck in windowless cubicles with fluorescent commercial light fixtures and nothing natural around them. Designing your office to ensure a window or skylight in as many rooms as possible is one way to start. Open up outside walls by using larger windows or window walls that allow employees and guests to look out into actual nature. Common areas can often be designed to include an open balcony or window wall that helps refresh employees during the work day.
All wood types may not be right to use in your office design depending on the climate, location, and theme. But with the variety of woods available, you should be able to find a complementary style for any decor. Bamboo used in furnishings and as wall decorations, for example, works well with a tropical or temperate office location. Dark woods enhance spaces with potted plants. And exposed beams can add a woodsy, cabin-like feeling to offices in a forested region.
Whether you can incorporate all of these natural elements into your office design or just a few, your employees and guests will thank you for it. And since happier workers are more productive workers, your wallet will thank you as well. Get in touch with construction contractors from a business like Midwest Commercial Interiors for even more office space design ideas.