ViDERE offers deep dive into the benefits of biophilia for mental health

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Aquarium design company, ViDERE, is offering a deep-dive into how positive, flexible workspaces will be key for employee retention in the new normal. As businesses plan ahead for what the future holds for office spaces, the one thing that seems for certain is that building wellbeing solutions into them is crucial.

With the office as we once knew it now a thing of the pre-pandemic past, now is the opportunity to reimagine the places that we work in, according to ViDERE’s founder Akil Gordon-Beckford. In order to explore the need for nature in office spaces, Akil’s studies measured its impact on key stress indicators. His findings showed that participants looking into a planted aquarium for 10 minutes experienced an average drop in blood pressure by 15.6 % and an average drop in heart rate by 3%.

These results could be a game-changer when thinking about mental health in the workplace: last year, depression and anxiety led to a loss of over 12.8 million working days. Now with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures, the psychological pressures have only been exacerbated: 60% of adults reported that their mental health has got worse during the past six months of lockdown.

Speaking about how companies can start optimising workspaces and offices through nature for the welfare of their employees, Akil commented:

“Research has consistently indicated that implementing human-centred design features such as aquariums and other water installations help to boost employee happiness. This makes your workplace more flexible and functional; which directly has a positive impact on business productivity and profitability.

“Whilst the future of the office and working from home continues to be unclear, there are several ways that people can incorporate elements of biophilic design to optimise workspaces for physical and mental wellbeing. Something as simple as working in a well-lit space, with plenty of surrounding space and a view of nature or even house plants, can help people to feel more relaxed and this, in turn, improves focus and concentration.”

ViDERE is recognised as an industry leader in improving how people feel by connecting them with nature, both in the home and at work: the company was recently shortlisted for the SBID’s Product Design Awards ‘Contract Furniture’ and ‘Cabinet & Joinery’ categories in recognition of his installation at Birmingham-based digital agency Lightbox and a saltwater tank commissioned by a private client in Hertfordshire.

“I became an aquarium designer to share my fascination with nature and its infinite sources of inspiration. For me, nature is intrinsically linked to art and is undoubtedly essential to improving human happiness and wellbeing; which is more relevant than ever, as we approach World Mental Health Day.

“We’re currently preparing to launch a new, extended study with the staff at the Birmingham NHS Trust in light of the ‘new normal’; I think it will be really interesting to compare data from our studies, due to them taking place in such different socio-economic contexts,” Akil added.