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Where there’s nature, there’s well-being and productivity in the workplace

Where there’s nature, there’s well-being and productivity in the workplace

The relationship between people and their environment can affect how they feel, perform and interact with others, so it’s important to ensure that the workplace is designed with these aspects in mind.

A recent report by Human Spaces, ‘Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace,’ has found a significant link between natural elements available in the physical office environment and workers well-being, productivity and creativity levels. The report collected responses from 7,600 office workers from 16 countries around the world, including Australia, the US and the UK.

According to this report, workers with higher levels of sunlight and green spaces:

  • Display a 15% higher level of well-being
  • Are 6% more productive 
  • Are 15% more creative overall

It puts in perspective the importance of incorporating simple natural elements in the workplace, which provides a significant benefit to the bottom line of any company through worker productivity and well-being.

In addition, office design is an important tool in recruiting and retaining staff, with the Human Spaces survey revealing 33% of respondents globally state that the design of an office would affect their decision to work for that organisation.

Putting thought into practice

At Savills, we have recently incorporated these learnings into the new Savills Sydney office fit-out. The new office space is on a higher level than the previous space, the windows are larger and there will be more access to daylight. Also, the majority of work positions have been designed to be less than 6m from a window, and no work positions further than 12m from a window. 

With regards to green elements, the new office design features a larger scope of greenery than the previous space, including more than a hundred pot plants and wall mounted plants over two floors.

Improvements such as these will ensure the best performance and well-being of our employees. 

Little steps to achieve success

Unfortunately, the Human Spaces survey also revealed that globally many workplaces still lack natural light and more than half have no live plants. In Australia, 28% of workers reported their workplaces having no windows.  

But even for offices that do not have windows, or are unable to make huge changes, employers can still improve their conditions through minor alterations to the workplace.

In fact, research suggests it is the variation in patterns, textures and colours of nature that brings us pleasure, so we should consider how best to recreate these within the indoor environment when access to a window is not feasible.

These alterations could include:

  • The addition of plants to the office
  • Large scale scenic images on the walls
  • Painting the walls with some brighter colours, (specifically, accents of green and blue have been shown to improve creativity and productivity)
  • The creation of social areas that provide employees with access to natural light and a place for respite
  • Wall-mounted video screens displaying images or real-time video of natural scenes

If you would like any advice on how natural elements can benefit your fit-out, contact the Savills Project Management team.

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Posted by:

Dale O'Toole

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