What Does the Post-Pandemic Workplace Look Like?
A recent JLL survey of leaders in business found that the future office place is changing. It is predicted that the majority of businesses will continue utilizing a hybrid work environment in the post-pandemic era. The survey found that 46% of businesses intend to reduce their real estate footprint by up to 30% to allow for flexible/hybrid workspaces. While changes are being made to how and where people work, the office is not going anywhere. What’s changing is how people work and the environment in which they collaborate.
Many businesses see these changes as opportunities to improve employee safety, happiness, and productivity. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses embraced the open office environment to allow for more interaction, creativity, and collaboration. The open office concept however isn’t always as effective for staff because it can increase noise, stress, and conflict, and even result in higher turnover. Post-COVID-19, the trend may be returning to a semi-open and part-private office environment that promotes both collaboration and interaction, but also responds to staff health and safety.
Business leaders and staff find the best opportunity for collaboration occurs in person at the workplace, even if employees are there part-time. After all, humans are inherently social and feed on each other’s energy. People can work together around a whiteboard, sketch out ideas together, read body language, and most importantly, not get ‘Zoom fatigue’. The research has shown that work spaces need to be made available to people regardless of whether they get to keep the desk or not – it’s not about desk ownership, it is about providing people with productive and inspiring workplaces. A strategy to do so is to redesign for an inspiring atmosphere where human to nature design — biophilic design — provides ample opportunities for employees to feel inspired to go back into the work environment.
Why Use Biophilic Design as a Method to Bring People to the Office?
A biophilic design strategy that creates inspiring atmosphere and park-like experiences in the office responds to employee requests for safety and happiness and helps businesses reach their productivity goals. By providing a place for staff to be connected to nature in the indoor environment, biophilic design inspires people to go to the office.
Biophilic design has components that rely on human wellness to improve the cognitive ability of employees, maintain physical and mental health, as well as provide documented economic improvement. There is a growing body of empirical evidence supporting the human-nature connection and why it is beneficial in the workplace. Over 700 studies support measurable, positive impacts of biophilic design on human wellness, productivity, and public health.
Where Biophilia can be in the workplace
Within an office, there are several areas where biophilia can be applied. These areas include:
- Collaborations areas
- Individual work areas
- In corridors and thresholds
- On wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces
- And in eating areas.
Each of these zones can incorporate elements of nature through added plants, biomorphic forms, natural materials, sunlight, water, fractal patterns, and views of landscapes. To learn more about incorporating biophilia into areas of the workplace, download our in-depth whitepaper.