Wellness, biophilia and productivity
The daily pursuit of well-being has extended to every context, from the home and leisure time to the workplace.
In fact, even in an office, in which one spends most of the day, the quality of time spent is increasingly important, both for one’s physical and psychological well-being.
This is why well-being has become an indispensable factor in our Office furniture projects, which increasingly espouse “green” as the basis for healthy, beautiful and functional work environments. Learn more about our GreenLights project.
“Well-being (from ben-essere= “feel good” or “exist well”) is a state involving all aspects of human beings” (Wikipedia) and defines the quality of life of the individual within the community.
This is also a very important aspect to assess within the Company, as it is itself in all respects a community in which the individual must be guaranteed an overall state of good physical, mental, and psychological health in order for him or her to work well, alone and as part of a team.
Fostering good cooperation among users would mean achieving results faster, without the occurrence of situations that are harmful to the user and the company, such as reduced productivity, internal conflicts, and the onset of stress and burnout syndrome.
Biophilia and wellness
Over the years, it has been widely demonstrated how contact with nature can be a true therapy for well-being.
It in fact reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, positively impacting mood, sleep quality, cognitive abilities and even blood pressure.
Why are we talking about biophilic design in the office today? How can it affect good mood and productivity?
Here are some basic concepts.
“Biophilia” literally means “love of life” and refers to the human being attracted to everything that is alive and vital. Humans, by nature, have a biological predisposition to prefer relationships with the living world, particularly animals and plants, for which they develop asymmetric empathy. (wikipedia)
What gave rise to this attraction?
Contact with nature satisfies an innate evolutionary need to connect with it, as it brings about multiple positive effects such as physical well-being and psychological well-being.
Those who work in contact with nature can avail themselves of these benefits to the benefit of their quality of life and, at the same time, their productivity.
How to take advantage of these important properties if you work in indoor environments such as an office?
Is it possible to bring nature inside?
Bringing nature inside the office means creating a connection between the inside and the outside, developing a healthy environment designed to welcome and support users during the workday.
First of all, the main elements of nature need to be identified, and then find ways to bring them inside.
The main elements can be summarized as:
- the green
- the clean air
- the natural light
- the silence
Bringing greenery indoors today is possible.
Whether live green or stabilized green, it is possible to bring greenery inside offices in numerous forms and types: plants, walls, pictures, customized logos.
Thanks to the numerous types of plants that can be used, it is possible to create a true green oasis inside the office. A healthy and comfortable environment that allows people to be constantly in contact with nature, benefiting from the stress-relieving effects produced by biophilic design.
Spending time outdoors has always been synonymous with good health because, unlike indoors, there is no dust, germs and bacteria, the causes of allergies and respiratory problems, and it also promotes immune strengthening.
Is it possible to create an indoor work environment that has at least some of these characteristics?
Yes, it is possible to control the state of the air in indoor places either through “natural” ways or artificially.
One natural solution is to use plants to filter the air, just as happens outdoors. So the installation of vertical greenery, whether living or stabilized, is able to contribute to the creation of an indoor environment that is also healthy in terms of air. Certainly the “greenery” will have to cover a sufficient amount of surface area for real results to be achieved.
An alternative solution is to install artificial purifiers, designed and developed to absorb and filter certain harmful substances in the air.
Natural light also has beneficial effects on users’ health.
Especially it stimulates the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone and therefore a natural antidepressant. Serotonin promotes concentration and productivity.
In addition, vitamin D produced by sunlight prevents and reduces stress and anxiety, reducing the risk of visual fatigue and promoting better quality of work done.
It is therefore good, where possible, to take advantage of the input of natural lighting, organizing workstations as best as possible, including from a layout point of view. These should in fact be configured according to the position of the windows, modulating the light that enters through the installation of technical blinds.
Similarly, the use of glass partitions, in place of masonry walls, is an excellent solution to encourage the diffusion of natural light.
Where all this is not possible, one can intervene by means of technical lighting, designed to diffuse light evenly, without shadows or points of darkness, succeeding in replacing natural light both from the point of view of decidedly “natural” results and for beneficial effects on visual fatigue.
The silence of nature is not real silence, but a set of “pleasant” sounds and noises that stimulate the parasympathetic system by inducing relaxation of the body.
All this is a far cry from what can be found in indoor environments, such as loud, disturbing noises related to machinery or more simply the continuous sound of computers or hubbub. These kinds of constant noises generate reverberation by multiplying their intensity. In the long run they are therefore perceived as very loud and intrusive, impairing the individual’s permanence, sometimes generating stress, headaches and difficulties in communicating with others.
Here again, vertical greenery can come to our aid. In fact, thanks to its sound-absorbing capabilities, it is able to absorb sounds by limiting the reverberation effect. In this way, constant noises lose their intensity, ensuring a pleasant atmosphere.
As with its filtering action, to achieve good sound-absorbing results vertical greenery must cover a significant amount of surface area within the environment in which it is installed.
As an alternative to vertical greenery, there are numerous other technologically designed and patented sound-absorbing solutions to permanently solve the problem of reverberation in indoor environments. Fabrics and panels of all shapes and colors, designed to fit into any context, but above all with materials certified to be environmentally friendly.
In contrast to vertical greenery, these sound-absorbing solutions are designed specifically to solve the reverberation problem, which is why they perform a targeted action achieving greater results even with smaller quantities.