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Are Biophilic-Designed Site Office Buildings Linked to Health Benefits and High Performing Occupants?
- December 2014International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11(12):12204-12222
Conclusions Office Plants in the Work Place and their numerous Health Benefits:
Historically, site workers have been housed in temporary, “match-box-sized” offices for the duration of construction projects, extending up to multiple years. These offices become the “norm” for their office space as workers transition from one construction site location to another. In this Brookfield Multiplex Australian study, aspects of open plan design and green interior spaces were purposefully infused into the newly devised bespoke office site.
Initial responses from occupants were clearly supportive of the newly introduced biophilic design elements to their workspace. Some benefits perceived by the workers using them included: enhanced collaboration amongst staff, including across teams, improved morale, and mitigation against stress. Even though this longitudinal study is ongoing for two years, early trends in responses from the first few weeks of occupancy suggested resounding approval by office workers. In short, the research is pointing towards a potential outcome that biophilic-designed site offices are linked to perceived social benefits and increased employee functioning including cooperation and mentoring, and to positive psychological effects, such as improved work satisfaction and higher morale. These are all characteristics of a high performance workplace and reinforce the findings of earlier research. What remains to be explored as the project continues are the effects of these design elements on the specific performance of workers and managers in their work spaces and the overall impact of plants in the workplace environment, including on non-subjective factors, such as employee retention and productivity. In addition, it remains to be seen to what extent the results are due to the biophilic elements or the impact of the Working Bee. Data collection currently ongoing until early 2016 will address a number of measures of workplace effectiveness and other quantifiable benefits, such as decreased absenteeism and improved mental acuity.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11 12219 Acknowledgments
This study was made possible due to a small grant from the School of Education, University of Western Sydney, 202020 Vision, NGIA and the generosity of Lauren Haas and her team at the Brookfield Multiplex.
Tonia Gray and Carol Birrell work together at University of Western Sydney, Australia. Collectively they collected the data, analysed the findings and shared equally in the academic content in this paper. Both authors have a long-term commitment to infusing nature-based well-being and educational techniques into their work place.
When we think of adding a colorful accent to our indoor office plants we often think about cut flowers or a flowering potted plant. Actually there is another option. Tropical foliage plants that have beautiful colored leaves. If your office has the right conditions, bright light and warm temperature, there is an unlimited selection of plants that have colorful foliage and variegated leaves. Crotons, Cordyline, Rex begonias, Stromanthe are just a few that can brighten your office with some color. We use many of these on locations in the Boston metro area. Colored leafy botanicals have unlimited plant possibilities.
Brian Guilfoyle contact 781.632.4475