What does biophilic design mean for serviced office space?

Our serviced office space is ideal if you have a love of nature, with plenty of natural materials and potted plants around our office interiors and meeting rooms, and pleasant surroundings with open water adjacent to all of our buildings.

There are plenty of watchwords in modern office design that link with the environment, from sustainability and green business energy, to recycled materials and responsibly sourced furnishings – and these kinds of factors all combine under the theory of biophilic design.

What is biophilia theory?

In short, biophilia is a love of nature, and was introduced by Edward O Wilson in 1984 to describe humanity’s innate connection and tendency to seek out other lifeforms and natural surroundings.

Over the decades since, this has developed into theories including biophilic city design and, in the 2000s, biophilic office designs that allow workers to feel connected to the natural world while in the workplace.

How do you design biophilic serviced office space?

Biophilic design is not all about planting trees in the middle of the floor or grass on the walls, although you’ll find both of those things in some modern office interiors.

Instead, it can incorporate natural materials like wood in office furniture, vibrant plants dotted throughout the office, and views to the outside complemented by artworks that also show landscape views.

Putting the space in serviced office space

Part of biophilic design is just about giving workers a sense of space, and it’s why the old American style of fully enclosed cubicles with no natural light has given way to more open plan, collaborative, modern office interiors.

Again, working in a room with windows is beneficial, as you get natural daylight and views of your surroundings, which in our buildings often means a view out over water.

Power to the people

Even the most comfortable office space can start to feel samey if it’s the only place where you spend time during every single working day, so it’s useful to give people some choice about where they work.

In our buildings, that means the option of heading to the kitchen for refreshments and a break from your desk, or spending some time in a breakout room to clear your head of stress before heading back.

Of course we also have well appointed meeting rooms to rent if you want to get out of the office for a training session or seminar, recruitment day, or to meet with clients and potential investors.

Find our serviced offices in biophilic locations

It’s fair to say that all three of our serviced office buildings offer biophilic surroundings, without taking you out of the heart of the city.

Our northern locations on Exchange Quay in Salford Quays, and Clippers Quay for MediaCity, are both by the water’s edge while just a skimmed stone away from Manchester city centre.

And in the south, you’ll find us at Davenport House on the Isle of Dogs, adjacent to Millwall Docks on the River Thames, and again just a short hop from Canary Wharf for the best balance between a city setting and natural surroundings.

How does serviced office space boost productivity?

When you rent serviced office space and meeting rooms, it’s not just space you’re getting – there are all kinds of things to take into account, such as the layout of the office, on-site facilities, furniture and so on.

But how do all of those things add up to boost productivity and keep your employees (and yourself) in good health and good spirits?

In a new paper published by the University of Lisbon in Portugal, Alicja Papierska looks at some of the characteristics of modern office space and their impact on the welfare and productivity of workers.

“We live in times when office space is playing a key role in companies’ and employees’ lives,” she writes. “Employees’ productivity is a fundamental element of any business’s success.”

Ergonomic furniture

Ergonomic furniture is a good start to keep workers comfortable for longer, but can also increase productivity and reduce the risk of aches, pains and repetitive strains, especially when some foliage is introduced into the office as well.

Ms Papierska writes: “Ergonomic furniture and introduction of plants are the elements which increase productivity and protect health of both employees and customers.”

This is beneficial not just for short-term productivity, but over the long term, as a more comfortable office interior means less chance of needing a day off due to poor posture, back ache, wrist and hand pains, and so on.

Activity based working

The principles of activity based working mean that the workplace should suit the day-to-day activities of the workers, rather than expecting individuals to adapt to the restrictions of their workspace.

Examples of how to do this include:

  • A mix of private and open spaces.
  • Areas in which to eat or take on refreshments.
  • Creative spaces and somewhere to relax.
  • Rooms that allow for exercise and activity.
  • Meeting rooms for privacy and collaboration.

You’ll find all of these in our serviced office spaces and meeting rooms, breakout rooms and kitchen areas, so you’re never stuck in one place for the duration of your working day.

The research summarises the importance of having areas where employees can work together while also relaxing: “Common space is designed to increase collaboration among employee and to reduce the work stress.”

Positive distractions

A distracting environment is not good news for productivity, but positive distractions can be – instead of just taking your attention away from your work, they are a way to distract you from any stress you might be feeling, or just give you a little boost over the course of the day.

Some of these elements overlap with an activity based workplace, for example creative breakout spaces, areas for preparing and consuming refreshments, beverages, snacks and full meals, and areas where you can get some exercise.

Others are about how the interiors are decorated – vibrant colours, open plan layouts that hold employees’ interest for longer – as well as the connection with the exterior through appealing window views and plenty of natural light, all of which can keep you feeling energised and help you to face up to any overtime when 5pm arrives.