Room with a view
How you can incorporate elements of the natural world into your office space for better health.
Johnny Woodhouse Published: 9/4/2019
Biophilic design, an emerging architectural movement that incorporates experiences of the natural world into the urban environment, isn’t limited to the corporate headquarters of tech giants like Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
Baptist Health recently incorporated biophilic design practices at its newly relocated Corporate Wellness office in Jacksonville.
The ground-floor suite features an abundance of natural light, visually soothing wall colors, scenic artwork and an array of low-maintenance plants that not only clean the office air but add focal points to the work environment.
Other enhancements include height-adjustable stand-up desks and ergonomic chairs that are designed to support natural posture and reduce stress forces on the body.
“Many of our corporate wellness clients want to know how they can reduce stress and evoke a more welcoming environment for their employees,” said Karen Coleman, MS, director of Corporate Health for Baptist Health. “One way they can do that is through purposeful interior design.”
Studies have shown that connections to nature, both direct and simulated lead to better productivity. Just introducing plants to the office can lower feelings of tension and anxiety.
Amazon’s new corporate headquarters in Seattle features more than 40,000 plants and a meeting space shaped like a bird’s nest. But you don’t have to build a simulated rain forest to get the same desired effect.
Here are five ways to turn your office space into a room with a view without breaking the bank:
Orient your desk as close as you can to a window to maximize natural sunlight.
Decorate your desk or workspace with plants or succulents.
Incorporate more natural materials, such as a wood-grain desk.
Simulate nature with artwork, photography or inspiring wallpaper.
Add a patch of artificial turf under your desk to create a relaxed foot space.
Even if you work in a windowless office under fluorescent lights, low-maintenance plants and vibrant pieces of art can liven up your workplace.
As part of its corporate wellness strategy, Coleman said Baptist Health is offering executive physicals to its more than 50 clients in the Jacksonville area. These inclusive workups are being held in a non-clinical setting in the new corporate wellness suite.
“The space features reclining chairs, not exam tables,” said Coleman, who worked with Baptist Health interior designer Nicole Jerrell and Jacksonville nature photographer Will Dickey to outfit the five-room, 2,000-square-foot suite.
“We also added a sound masking system to help reduce noise distractions and protect speech privacy. A lot of these elements don’t cost a lot of money,” she said. “The trade-off is increased productivity and improved health and well-being.”
For companies in need of an employee wellness program, Baptist Health's PATH program is a flexible solution. For more details, call 904.202.4980.