office employees desire natural light in their workplace




the recent human spaces report investigating the impact of the work environment on employee well-being, asked more than 3,600 office employees from eight countries (denmark, france, germany, netherlands, spain, sweden, UK and UAE) which natural elements desired most within the design of their workplace setting. the answer shone bright and clear: more natural light.


sir cary cooper on discussing employee attitudes across europe
video courtesy of human spaces powered by INTERFACE




although considered a basic requirement, the importance of natural light to human well-being is often forgotten. this is especially true in the professional domain, where the emphasis of design can fall short on issues of practicality, health and safety. the human spaces review indicated that only 58% of EMEA (europe, middle east and africa) office workers have natural light in their surrounding environment, while 7% actually have no windows at all; concluding that the presence of a view into the outside world (or lack there of) isn’t just confined to how people at work, but that it can also influence whether they even show up at all. simply, the presence of natural elements and light indicated higher levels of happiness at work in comparison to those void of nature.

natural light workplace
only 58% of EMEA employees have natural light in their office surroundings




developed by INTERFACE in collaboration with organizational psychologist, professor sir cary cooper, the human spaces report and website and report demonstrates how design and the incorporation of natural elements into their immediate office setting can change the way employees feel to the point where they are actually more stressed or, conversely, more productive. the human spaces hub is meant to be a platform of exchange for experts all over the world to share information about well-being in the workplace and how the design of a space can influence the way people feel and work.

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INTERFACE office in stockholm




other elements that made it into office workers’ top five list were:

– quiet working space
– a view of the sea
– live indoor plants
– bright colours such as yellows, greens and blues


while the majority of the top five ideal factors chosen by office workers appear to be relatively simple, changing the view, for example, is not a physical possibility. putting into practice the recommendations for a scheme based on the research in the human spaces report is not about creating literal representations of the sea or countryside (although images of natural scenes have been shown in some studies to reduce stress levels). rather, for the design to be truly impactful, bringing nature into the workplace rests heavily on interpretation.

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the presence of natural light in the work setting proved an increase in happiness among employees




biophilic design is about incorporating materials and textures, patterns and colours inspired by nature to engage the senses and evoke an innate connection to the outdoors. this can be achieved through the flooring, furniture or decoration chosen, internal and external spaces.

biophilic design human spaces interface flooring designboom
latest of INTERFACE product taking inspiration from nature to create flooring that reflects the natural landscape




based on the human spaces report and findings by sir cary cooper, those offices successful in incorporating natural elements, and giving employees more sunlight, will see increased happiness, creativity and productivity, ultimately impacting the success of the organisation. the evocation of nature is by no way an extravagance, but a means of increasing profits and making hard cost-savings, while harnessing a better level of balance, and more welcoming atmosphere.


join the conversation about biophilic design here.

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