The Importance of Bringing the Outside Inside 

When we go inside from a rainy day, we’re often grateful for the dry warmth of our office building. However, on a bright and beautiful day, we wish we could be outside. Or at least bring a little of the outside inside with us. By integrating elements of the outside into your workplace décor and aesthetic, you can dramatically improve mood, morale, productivity and overall employee health. Here are a few ways to bring the outside inside. 

1. Plants

One of the easiest ways to include some of the outdoors into your workplace design is with plants. Biophilic design is both direct and indirect connectivity to nature through design. It can be as easy as bringing in a few plants to keep in every room and as advanced as a plant wall. A majority of humans rely on what they can see in terms of what helps improve their mood.  Therefore, having plants within eye-line can impact your employees, visitors and customers.  

Not only do plants improve mood, but they have several health and safety benefits. Plants, flowers and other living organisms can reduce sick days. No, really! By improving the oxygen levels in the office through photosynthesis, plants can naturally filter out toxins in the air that can cause sickness. While they cannot prevent all sicknesses, they can give some relief to the burden of employee absenteeism.  

2. Lighting

Natural lighting is best. That isn’t news. But just how does it help? Why is it the best for you? Natural light can boost your vitamin D, which helps reduce inflammation, build stronger bones, and control infections. Not only that – it helps reduce eye strain, as fonts and colors are easier to see in natural light rather than artificial light. The intensity and position of natural light evolves throughout the day and your body notices. Alertness is often directly attributed to how your body adjusts to circadian rhythms and the light/dark cycle. Open the curtains or blinds to let in more natural light. If you cannot, consider getting a sun lamp to mimic the evolving outdoor natural light.  

3. Smell

Many companies use olfactory branding to encourage employees and visitors to have a special association of smell with place. By bringing in natural smells into the office, people may be more inclined to focus and collaborate due to the positive associations between smell and memory. The smell of the air after a summer rain can be invigorating. Fresh jasmine in the afternoon can perk you up. The smallest hint of a specific aroma can make someone feel encouraged to get through the waning hours of the workday. You can either use the HVAC system to distribute these scents or metered dispensers that emit an aroma on a schedule. 

4. Colors

The term “earth tones” usually conjures up browns, ambers, and tans. But if you think about it, the earth has every color imaginable on it. We’re not saying make your office look like a cranberry bog, but you can bring in more colors than you think. It’s all about how you do it. Natural wood floors with stone accents and plants around the ground can help mimic the look of the ground and light green carpets can make us think of grass. Light blue and white colors near the ceiling remind us of the sky. Pops of reds and pinks throughout the room may make us think of flowers.

Bring It All Together

By incorporating aspects of the outside into your workplace design, you are allowing your employees, visitors, and customers to feel more comfortable and in touch with nature. You don’t have to do a lot to bring the outside inside. Start small with a few plants here and there. You never know how much good it will do until you try!

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