Silicon Valley and the technology industry generally leads the way in shaping workplace design practices and culture, with the focus on the well being of its people. As the opportunity arises, forward – looking companies are increasingly adopting this approach, (but with less emphasis on the kiddies toys).
Providing increased on-site amenities, flexible workspaces, creative office environments and mobility strategies keeps the focus on the most important part of a business: its people.
New technologies, data analytics and social networks are having a huge impact on how we communicate, collaborate and work.
Some of the approaches to advancing workplace design employ behavioral science, organizational design, change management, performance metrics, demographics and technological advances.
A critical shift in workplace design is well underway: let employees choose which type of space they need for a given task. Designers are now seeking to provide the right mix of space, with both private and collaborative areas dispersed throughout the building.
What Employees Really Want
When asked what elements they’d like an architect to incorporate in their ideal workplace, office workers around the world headed their preference list with more natural light, followed closely by indoor plants. (The Human Spaces Report. (2015)
The often overlooked, and usually unacknowledged human need: is a closer association with the natural environment.
To quote Bioclimatic Skyscraper architect Ken Yeang “That people are constantly moving into new environments, unconnected with the natural environment, tends to give the impression that they are enlarging the range of their evolutionary past. This is an illusion because wherever humans go, they can only function to the extent that they maintain a micro environment that is similar to the one from which they evolved.” (Designing with Nature, The Ecological Basis for Architectural Design. 1995. McGraw Hill New York).
As a species we evolved with green plants. The plants were here before us, so they don’t need us, BUT we need plants. In fact without plants we would not survive. (Plants will be on Mars, but that is for another post).
A simple, cost-effective way to fulfil our basic need for nature, is to bring more green plants into our work spaces, then both the people and the business will benefit.