In a world where we are so regularly glued to one or another screen, we find ourselves in a battle of technology vs nature. We have therefore found a growing need and eagerness for our office design to be more attuned with nature. Now, thanks to rising connectivity, gaining ‘remote’ access is easier than ever. The downside to that of course is that we are left with a growing inability to actually switch off from it all. It has therefore never been so important to think about how we can start bringing a sense of balance to our lives. It seems that the only way to effectively achieve this is to bring a part of nature into our office design.
So, how do we manage to do this? How do we create that simpler, more authentic way of life that we so often long for and make it an integral part of our office design? (Especially in a country such as Singapore where there seems to be a new building popping up every week!)
Well for starters we should be making the most of what little natural light we do get coming in. This means keeping to an open plan layout with low partitions and not blocking too many of the windows with meeting rooms and offices. Another way to bring this into the design of our offices is to create small ‘break out’ or informal meeting spaces within the main office floor. Use warm sunny colours alongside decorative patterns and textures that draw on elements of nature and the outdoors. Think raw wood tones, stone, and botany inspired prints. Use organic shapes and stay away from the ultra glossy and shiny. The idea is to create an authentic look and appreciate the natural simplicity. If it needs something extra then details and accents in copper and gold promote a calmer ambience than using materials such as steel and chrome.
For those of you with a little more money to invest and truly want to bring that feeling of nature indoors, consider installing water features, green walls and vertical gardens. By placing these in the common areas and along transitional corridor spaces it can greatly enhance the overall sense of wellbeing of the staff.
Ultimately the more green spaces, natural light and associations you can make with the outdoors the better the mood, comfort and general health of your employees will be. This in turn will strengthen productivity, minimise staff turn over and therefore provide long term profitable company gains.