Living green walls: bringing nature into the workplace

Living green walls: bringing nature into the workplace

Living green walls present an intriguing proposition to workplaces looking to upgrade their approach to decor and convey their sustainable attitudes.
  • A living wall of plants
  • The benefits of green walls
  • Proven success

Modern workspaces have been in a state of transition for some time – from managing real estate footprint to emotionally intelligent use of the space. Office decor is another important factor to consider when looking towards the future, but finding an approach that appeals to everybody can prove challenging. There is something that virtually everybody has in common, however – biophilia, or a desire to connect with nature. Living green walls are a great way to bring nature into the office, and come with an array of benefits beyond the aesthetic, from air quality, to productivity, and even mental health.

A living wall of plants

The living green wall can consist of a wide variety of different plants capable of growing on a vertical plane, ranging from grasses and mosses, to vivid flowers and succulents. It sustains itself automatically via a series of pipes hidden within the wall which are responsible for handling plant hydration. This, in addition to an adequate source of light, is all they need. Unlike traditional workplace aesthetics, living green walls have a ‘wow factor’ that can motivate and inspire employees about the organisation. Their impact is comparable to that of an art installation, and each one is bespokely tailored to the needs of the organisation. Implementation can be achieved in a number of ways, ranging from freestanding walls to dividers between office spaces. Little or no upkeep is required from employees, as the companies responsible for installing will typically offer maintenance as part of the overall package.

The benefits of green walls

Living green walls aren’t just striking to look at – they offer a range of tangible benefits to the workplace. They provide a source of clean and fresh air which can root out pollutants, purify, and prevent the air from becoming too dry. In addition, they can contribute towards a workplace complying with the standards required for a WELL certification. Biophilic design principles have a calming effect which helps to mitigate common problems such as stress, anxiety and claustrophobia. This will have a knock-on effect on employee satisfaction and encourages lower rates of absenteeism. Furthermore, they can help to stimulate creativity, and contribute towards a work environment that encourages productivity.

Strikingly, they are even great for reducing energy costs. Plants have a natural insulating effect that helps retain warmth during cold winter months, yet conversely, during summer time they can actually help to cool an indoor space. This means that less energy needs to be expended keeping the office at the right temperature, which in turn helps reduce its carbon footprint. This utility also extends to noise reduction – plants have a natural ability to block or reflect high-frequency noise, causing less distractions and helping employees to focus on the task at hand.

Proven success

One company reports great results after a recent collaboration in London to fill the workspace of a multinational financial services corporation with living green walls. Vantage Spaces partnered with long-time collaborators AIS Interiors to redesign the office space of this multinational organisation, using biophilia as their guiding principle. This was done with the intent of encouraging a more creative and agile working environment, as well as increasing employee satisfaction. Together, they came up with an ideal solution: creating a giant double-sided mixed flat and bun moss wall fitted around a window to bring a ‘deep green life’ to the main staircase. They matched it with hanging green foliage and specially fitted lighting to bring their biophilic design philosophy to the organisation’s newly-designed meeting spaces. The project was a resounding success, and the changes were warmly received by employees and management alike – creating a ‘sense of joy and excitement’ as they walked into their workplace.

Closing thoughts

Living green walls present an intriguing proposition to workplaces looking to upgrade their approach to decor and sustainability, something HR managers should give serious consideration to. They aren’t just striking – they can inspire employees towards higher levels of creativity and productivity. They provide fresh air and redistribute heat, lowering energy costs – and can even make the office quieter by absorbing high-frequency noise. No doubt, they are great for wellbeing, because of our desire for nature connection, and highlight the organisation’s sustainability commitments. In summary, living green walls are one of the most vivid ways to bring biophilia into the workplace.

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