When office workers were sent home during the pandemic, many found solace in nature. They cared for houseplants, added bird feeders, even took their laptop outdoors. Now, as companies try to persuade workers to return to the office, many are realizing that incorporating more nature into the office environment might be just the draw they need.
Why Offices Need Elements of Nature
Although the trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, the concept of adding natural elements in an office isn’t entirely new. After all, we’ve been hearing about the benefits of plants in the office for decades. But the science extends beyond simple greenery. In fact, the latest office design trend is based on biophilia, which hypothesizes that humans have an innate instinct to seek connections with nature and other living things. More than just a philosophy, biophilic design has been found to promote health and wellness, reduce sick days, and staff turnover, and increase cognition and productivity.
How Offices are Incorporating More Nature
As part of the trend to coax workers back to the office, many businesses are adding plants and natural light to their interior design. Some have opted to lease space in buildings where the windows can be opened, allowing fresh air inside. For those that are unable to open the windows, window boxes filled with flowers and plants give the allusion of bringing the outdoors in, and many high-rise office buildings have begun adding rooftop terraces and lounges.
Some of the more extreme nature-themed amenities include treehouse lounges, bird blinds and garden plots for digging in the dirt during lunch breaks. In midtown Manhattan, the investment company Nuveen is just one of many businesses to add beehives to their terrace. They even hired a beekeeper to teach tenants about the bees and how to harvest honey for the employees to take home. Meanwhile, in Austin TX, a company called Springdale Green is adding 36,000 square feet of terraces, and a boardwalk, complete with hammocks.
Inexpensive Alternative to Office Redesign
Adding natural features to an office can be expensive, but there are alternatives to these high-priced design projects. For one, you could move your office closer to nature, instead of trying to bring nature to you. Office space in the suburbs, just outside many metropolitan areas, naturally provides office workers with access to fresh air, sunlight and plants. Plus, it’s usually less expensive to rent or own office space in these outlying areas, and the commute is often easier on employees.
The Lakeside Park is conveniently located in Wakefield MA, just 12 miles northwest of downtown Boston. Nestled in a park-like setting on the banks of picturesque Lake Quannapowitt, office workers have access to the 3.3 mile Lake Quannapowitt Trail for walking running and biking, as well as three parks for playing frisbee, relaxing with a book, and enjoying picnic lunches. There’s even a small boat launch and a sandy area for launching kayaks and canoes.
With a renewed focus not just on bringing nature into the office, but on amenities in general, The Lakeside Park offers many perks that office workers don’t have access to while working from their dining room table, including a fitness studio with group exercise classes and personal training, a day spa, child care facility, full-service bank, acupuncturist, physical therapist, psychologist and more.