Can You Bring Biophilia Into Your Business?
Learn How to Capture the Great Outdoors with Lighting Control, Climate Management and More!
If you’ve been reading any industry press recently, or if you visited CES and CEDIA last year, you know that 2019 was the year of biophilia, and this trend shows no signs of stopping as we venture into the next decade. Bringing nature indoors reached most corners of residential design but most notably in areas like lighting and climate control. But does biophilia play a role in how we build and design Oakland County, MI, offices? We think so!
According to Mikhail Davis, an office designer who worked with Google: “A traditional office environment is a constant temperature, lots of the same colors, same textures, same humidity: If you’re outside, these vary throughout the day, and that’s what’s producing a lot of these benefits.” By contrast, an office that incorporates some elements of “bringing the outside in,” including circadian lighting control, air quality monitors and climate control, might be the employee productivity boost you’re looking for. Keep reading to see how Tech Automation could add nature-inspired perks to your office.
When surveyed by the American Society of Interior Design, nearly 70 percent of employees voiced dissatisfaction with the lighting in their office. What could be so bad about those trusted fluorescent lights? Full sunlight is about 500 times brighter than office lighting, for one thing. And office lighting is far too static, throwing off our retinol balance and our serotonin/melatonin balance, instead of giving us the lighting cycle we crave.
More specifically, we need brighter, bluer light during the day to keep us productive and warmer light at night to relax us. As the sun rises and falls through the sky, those gradual lighting differences are nearly imperceptible but greatly impact our sense of wellbeing. For example, you might not notice the light slowly fade and change tones as the day progresses, but your body perceives the same bluish light as glaring and nerve-wracking at 6 p.m. but stimulating at 3 p.m. Human-centric lighting from Lutron can operate on a circadian rhythm schedule to maintain employee satisfaction and productivity throughout the day, even as their needs shift.
Climate Control and Humidity
Another area in which humans frustrate their circadian cycles is climate control. Again, we find that our body doesn’t enjoy the sameness our indoor environments give us. When’s the last time you stayed outdoors all day? Did the temperature stay at, say, 70 degrees all day long? Of course not: Some residences and even offices are automating for some slight temperature fluctuations.
Another consideration is air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air pollutants are at least twice (and up to five times!) as filthy as those outdoors. Modern businesses have been exploring concepts like air purification, automated humidifiers and more. Though plants don’t offer significant air purification benefits, biophilia-minded offices usually feature indoor greenery.
CEDIA 2019 showgoers all marveled at the Delos Wellness Pavilion, which felt like the perfect respite from the showfloor’s poor lighting, crowds and noise. Upon first walking in, visitors were welcomed into a whisper-silent, warmly lit room featuring zero-gravity chairs. For fifteen minutes, guests cocooned themselves in these seats and listened to a guided meditation, wearing an eye mask to drown out outside stimulation. After the meditation ended, some users reported a more relaxing experience than a couple of hours at the spa or massage center.
According to an American Institute of Stress study, 83% of American workers experience workplace stress, with one million every workday missing work because of it. You don’t have to recreate a complete CEDIA-inspired serenity room, but we recommend adding at least some tranquil music, warm lighting and plants to an unused room. Depending on your company culture and employee preferences, they can use this room for meditation, yoga or napping.
Did you get some ideas for your office but don’t know where to start? Tech Automation can create biophilic spaces that lead to happier employees and higher revenue. Call us at (248) 841-8500 or fill out our contact form to get started.