Enhancing the Return to Work with Biophilic Design

Updated: Jul 7

The coronavirus pandemic prompted a huge shift in many workplaces around the world, as employees were made to adhere to strict social distancing measures. Suddenly, working from home became the new normal, and workers found themselves no longer having to remain at a single desk, enclosed office, or uninspiring cubicle.

However, 2021 has seen the emergence of COVID-19 vaccines, causing businesses to slowly start allowing employees back into the office. With this slow return back to pre-pandemic normalcy, companies are now looking at new ways to embrace health and wellness in the workplace on a larger scale.

This has prompted a push toward biophilic design, as employers want to bring the benefits that nature and the great outdoors have to offer into their offices –—and for plenty of good reasons, too.

What is Biophilic Design and Why is it Important?

The term biophilic is derived from the Greek words “bios” and “philia," meaning love of life or living things. The term rose to popularity in 1984 with Edward O. Wilson’s book, titled the Biophilia Hypothesis. In it, the author proposed that the strong connections humans have with other life forms and nature as a whole are deeply rooted in our biology.

In architecture, biophilic design is a sustainable strategy that aims to reconnect people with the natural environment. At its very essence, biophilic design incorporates aspects of the natural world to contribute positively to human health and wellbeing. It utilizes elements such as air-purifying plant walls, natural light, water features, and sustainable materials, including wood and stone.

Why Should You Embrace Biophilic Design in Your Return-to-Work Strategy?

Thankfully, this increased focus on biophilic design isn’t just a trend. Instead, it’s a sign of what’s to come, as companies turn to the design as a part of their return-to-work strategy and as a means to redefine the workplace as we know it.

Biophilic-designed offices provide a wide range of benefits to both companies and employees as they make the shift back to their place of work. Let’s look at each of these below.