An Introduction to Biophilic Office Design

It can be unhealthy to spend too much time isolated from nature, but this is a fact of employment for many office workers. Fortunately, a new trend in commercial building design is helping to reconnect employees with the natural world during the normal workday. If you’re a developer interested in incorporating biophilic design into your upcoming commercial projects, here’s what you should know about this technique.

What Is Biophilic Design?

The term “biophilic” comes from Greek roots that mean “a friendly feeling toward life.” In the context of building development, it refers to design principles that increase occupant connectivity with nature. This involves incorporating features like water, natural light, plants, weather, and landscapes throughout the property. 

Biophilic design is thought to help occupants reduce stress, promote well-being, and boost overall health. For businesses, it minimizes the costs of heating and cooling, improves productivity, and reduces worker absenteeism. It also has environmental benefits, such as reducing heat island effects, lowering carbon output, and increasing biodiversity.

How Do You Incorporate Biophilic Design Principles?


Features that increase the occupants’ exposure to natural light, such as skylights and large windows, are foundational to this building design. Expansive panes can also allow employees to get a better view of the surrounding property to help them feel connected to nature. Windows that open easily to allow for excellent airflow throughout the interior is another element of using biophilic design effectively.

Water features, such as fountains and fish tanks, are easy additions that link workers with other living beings and the sound of trickling water, which is a powerful stress reliever. Meanwhile, rooftop gardens, plants lining exterior stairways, and a green wall—vegetation on a vertical surface—are excellent methods of incorporating foliage into the building design. Using materials like wood and stone instead of synthetics will ensure the building mimics the beauty of nature.