It can’t be helped that most offices will be based in fast-paced, highly urbanized areas that become contributory to a stressful work environment. Therefore, big-name companies like Facebook and Amazon are now bringing the natural outdoors into their office with innovative green workspace design. These well-known, multibillion-dollar companies are now placing a huge importance into indoor green areas in their new headquarters, opting for a more greenhouse look rather than the traditional industrial, corporate design.
The same issue is seen in the Philippines with its nonstop developments and ballooning population, outdoor green areas are becoming scarcer in the urban Metro Manila area. So now, workplaces and private offices are finding more ways on how they can preserve natural green areas by bringing them into their space.
Incorporating greenery into the workspace prove to have long-term benefits and becomes a key factor in retaining employees. Listed below are these said benefits and effects of green workspaces to workers and the work culture:
1. Increases productivity
Being surrounded by nature has been proven to improve concentration, lessen attention fatigue and drive productivity by 20%.
A study done by the University of Twente further finds that plants in office spaces produce higher morale and lesser headaches among employees. It therefore directly challenges the well-known notion and widely accepted business philosophy that clean, minimalist offices are often more productive.
An investigation into the reason why plants are a major driver for productivity suggests that it encourages more work involvement, making workers more physically, emotionally, and cognitively engaged in their work. This swiftly battles the common problem of losing volumes of manpower due to workers’ disengagement. With employees spending most of their time in enclosed spaces, the presence of biophilic colors like greens, yellows, and browns can have a soothing effect on them.
A good example of this is coworking spaces, where they are best known for having hip, contemporary work design which workers claim help them work better. When workers feel comfortable and positive, they can perform to the best of their abilities and fully optimize their skill set.
2. Encourages engagement with others and nurtures positive relationships
An unexplained phenomenon of nature is its ability to nourish positive relationships.
This may be attributed to plants having a relaxing impact on people, with the reduction of stress enabling them to build encouraging connections with others. The same seems to happen with green spaces in the workplace, resulting in a shift in work culture. It promotes a more open and collaborative environment, making it less hierarchical. This further improves employees’ engagement with one another and helps them work harmoniously together.
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, have a common working space that different workers share. Engagement and networking are bound to happen in these types of areas especially when outfitted with fresh, inspired design like greenery.
3. Healthier ambiance and aesthetics
Greenery helps make offices look more like a creative, collective space for employees rather than feeling stuck in an enclosed place.
The incorporation of green areas in the office have set a design trend, with the increasing number of companies identifying the importance of their staff’s wellbeing. Employees and clients alike, are now requesting workplaces with indoor plants and open green zones that create aesthetically pleasing areas they can fully utilize. However, incorporating green space in design is not only achievable through plants but also by implementing the following design elements:
- Abundant light
- Natural materials and shapes
- Water views
- Other types of vegetation (i.e. mosses and lichens)
Developers are also looking to bring more creative outdoor areas where workers can get away to an outdoor environment without having to wander too far from the office. This will help in creating a sense of comfort and a healthier atmosphere that ultimately aids in employee performance.
4. Good company image
Showing that the comfort and well-being of a company’s staff is at the forefront helps in attracting then retaining the best talent. This has become increasingly important to organizations, with workplace stress escalating over the years. Many companies are now finding ways to make their place of work a more conducive environment to productivity, with them putting additional value into their most important asset – their people.
In terms of coming from a client’s perspective, it shows a good image of the company when it is seen that they are now being more responsible for their behaviors and actions. This is the same for coworking spaces, where all kinds of freelancers and employees from different companies gather. They provide a multitude of amenities, making sure to take good care of their coworkers.
Offices which also have access to green spaces, light-filled working environment, with fresh air and natural plants are perceived to be forward thinking with their business. Big companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Amazon are already incorporating this model with their new headquarters. They are continuously putting an importance on indoor collaborative green areas, even going as far as prioritizing landscape over architecture.
5. Energy-saving and environment-sustainability
Green spaces in the office have an immediate practical application since plants naturally purify the air.
A considerable amount of greenery can naturally contribute to the air quality, temperature, humidity and noise levels in an area.
Plants can lower the temperature by as much as 10 degrees, letting companies then save on temperature regulation. These companies that take the little steps to start there then realize that there's more that they can do, embarking on a path to sustainability. After green spaces and energy-efficiency, companies find other ways to reduce their carbon footprint such as:
- Waste reduction
- Water conservation
- Minimizing the use of chemicals
Being in a natural environment eventually leads to slowly encouraging more people to find ways on how they can be more sustainable, and it can start in the workplace.
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