Outdoor Living at Work | Biophilic Workplace Design for the Outdoors (and Inside, Too)

It’s that time of year when the weather starts to warm up, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and many of just wish we could take our work outside to enjoy it all, instead of being cooped up indoors all day.

One of the more popular design trends of our day is incorporating biophilia into the workplace. Biophilia is that longing within many of us to be out in nature, and nothing squashes it more than spending 8+ hours a day in a windowless box staring at a computer screen under fluorescent lighting breathing in chemical air fresheners without any access to fresh air, natural light, and plants or other natural elements found just outside our workplace doors.


biophilia in the workplace planter in an open office space with large windows in the background and two men working on computers at different workstations


The list of health benefits of incorporating biophilic design into the workplace is a long one, but here’s a sampling:

  • Cleaner air and better overall air quality, helping to prevent some illnesses
  • Reduction in stress levels, meaning greater focus, elevated performance, and improved relational dynamics
  • Reduction in eye strain, and the headaches and vision problems that can result from it
  • And more.

The list of benefits to your organization is equally long:

  • Improved employee recruitment and retention efforts results
  • Better teamwork
  • Increased productivity and innovation
  • Fewer absences
  • And more.


man working at a desk talks to woman standing behind screen there are planters in the workstation


While organizations can (and probably should, in many cases) incorporate natural elements into the interiors of their workplaces, nothing quite compares to being able to take your laptop and your coffee outside to do a little heads down work or hold an informal meeting with colleagues. It’s the ultimate biophilic design experience. So if your organization has outdoor space available, one of the smartest things you can do with it is create an outdoor oasis where your employees, students, and clients can enjoy the benefits of time in the great outdoors, and your organization can enjoy the benefits of improved workplace culture and performance.


biophilia outdoor furniture for the workplace awning with tables and chairs underneath it and a series of benches and a coffee table in the background


Interested in creating an outdoor space for your organization? Here are a few considerations:

  • What kind of technology do your employees or students use? You may need to incorporate electrical and data into your design to accommodate the use of laptops and other devices.
  • What kind of coverage will you need to incorporate into your design to protect your team from exposure to the elements? For example, do you need extra shade to help beat the afternoon heat?
  • Do you want to include special lighting, water features, an outdoor kitchen space, or other elements into the design that would require electricity, plumbing, etc.? Be sure to plan, accordingly, if the answer is yes.
  • Is pest control an issue? You may need to take safety measures if you have a lot of wasps or other pests who could harm someone trying to use the outdoor space.


outdoor seating area with tables and chairs biophilia outdoor furniture workplace


Hopefully, we’ve helped to spark some design ideas and creativity for your next outdoor workplace design project. If we did, and your organization is in the Central or Southern Pennsylvania region, give our BR team of contract workplace furniture and architectural interiors products experts a call at 717-291-1001, or send us a message HERE. We’re here to help you craft a workplace that will help you, your employees, and your students and clients excel!