When you envision the typical office environment, do you see greenery, natural light and a clear view of an adjacent landscape? The average person associates their office with worn carpeting, buzzing light fixtures and tall partitions. The most they see of nature is from motivational posters on the wall.
While this is somewhat of an exaggeration, the point remains the same: The traditional design for the American office space is simple and utilitarian, serving its purpose without supporting the wellbeing of those who occupy it. While it’s common to see a potted plant here and there, it isn’t enough.
Fortunately, the status quo is starting to shift, and green office design is growing in popularity. With the well-documented effects of plant life on mental and physical health, professionals in management positions are beginning to consider an adjustment. They’ve started to make some exciting changes.
So, what do these changes look like, and what influence do they have on performance in the workplace? What are the principles of green office design, and how can you implement them? We’ll answer these questions and others like them, walking you through everything you need to know.
The Value of Green Office Design
Our brains need oxygen to survive, and, naturally, the quality of that oxygen matters. If you’re working in a space with a high concentration of volatile organic compounds — or VOCs — you won’t perform at your best. Since VOC levels are up to 10 times higher indoors than outdoors, this is a serious problem.
Green office design addresses the issue of VOCs with indoor greenery, purifying the air. When the oxygen you consume is cleaner, your brain can function more efficiently. You won’t feel as tired or have trouble focusing on your work, allowing you to complete tasks at a faster rate with far less difficulty.
Airflow also has a significant role in your productivity. Upgrading the ventilation in your workspace from 20 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air to 40 CBM can increase productivity per employee by $6500. Next to the comparatively low cost of upgraded ventilation, its value is even more impressive.
Of course, you can still benefit from green office design without making much of an investment. If you open your existing windows — unless they’re sealed — and move obstructions from blocking sources of natural light, you’ll enhance your workspace without spending any money at all.
In truth, green office design doesn’t have to cost a substantial sum of money. You don’t need large-scale renovations to enjoy the advantages of a more natural working environment. With this in mind, we’ll show you some simple, inexpensive ways to incorporate green design principles into your office.
How to Incorporate Green Principles
If you’re interested in green office design, you should start small and work your way toward larger changes. It’s as simple as taking a trip to your local greenhouse. You’ll find a diverse range of options for office plants that will add a splash of color to your workspace and have you breathing easier.
Consider the following three species:
- African Violet
- English Ivy
When you bring these plants into your office, you’ll see and feel the difference. With tillandsia, you can explore your creative side, affixing the “air plant” to other pieces of decor or placing it within unconventional containers. After you’ve brightened up your space with greenery, browse for decor with natural elements.
Of course, the presence of real nature is preferable, but you’ll enjoy many of the same benefits from decorations related to nature. If you can’t find money in the budget to retrofit your existing workspace with upgraded ventilation, for example, look for art of landscapes or pieces that integrate biomorphic patterns.
If you happen to find money for upgraded ventilation, consider a high-volume low-speed fan for your office. An HVLS fan creates a comfortable, energy-efficient environment, saving you up to 49 percent in costs. Also, studies have shown airflow stimulation keeps people awake, improving focus and performance.
Review Your Options Today
The status quo is starting to shift, and you can participate in that change. When you invest in some of the green design elements above — like office plants or nature-related art — you’re making a significant difference. Employees will feel happier, healthier and more productive.
Review your options and start planning today!