See why RH chooses an office with abundant foliage, and what it means for the quality of our work
Biophilia sounds like something Sigmund Freud would concern himself with, but the concept actually can produce dividends for your office’s productivity. In the most basic sense, a biophilic office is decorated (although perhaps ‘equipped’ is the better descriptor) with a wide assortment of live plants. Studies have shown that being around living plants has both psychological and physiological benefits. If your workers are having a more pleasant experience in the office, that means they’re more likely to come to the office and create good work.
But in a broader since, biophilia means creating a space that replicates natural, outside conditions as much as possible. This could mean having lots of windows that let in natural light, interior trim of wood and stone, or vibrant colors on the walls instead of drab ones.
London-based office design firm K2 Space recently wrote that biophilia is the way of the future: “Expect to hear more about biophilic office design over the coming months and years as the benefits and advantages of embracing nature in the workplace become even more difficult to ignore, and hence more commonplace,” they wrote.
Russell Herder embraces the plant aspect of biophilia as tightly as an environmentalist would hug a tree. A veritable jungle of live plants festoon every available corner of the office. Our horticultural collection includes everything from your standard shrubs and ferns to literal trees.
Of course, the plants require regular care to keep them vibrant and healthy, but as a result, the office air is cleaner and it’s easier to feel comfortable with a bit of nature close by.
Ever since our office relocated to the International Market Square building in Minneapolis’ North Loop in 2014, Russell Herder has also basked in the building’s natural light, and as the creative district continues to develop, there’s always something interesting just outside the window.
The evidence in support of the biophilic office concept extends far beyond just our anecdotes, however. Texas A&M put together an entire list of some of the scientific studies that support it. Highlights include a study from the University of Michigan, which found that being under the influence of plants improves memory performance by 20 percent, as well as several research papers that support the claim “[n]atural environments induce a positive outlook on life, making people feel more alive and active. When people experience increased vigor, they put more of themselves and their energy into their work.”