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How biophilic design can help enhance wellness in the Healthcare Sector

If there is one type of professional space that has come under intense scrutiny during the pandemic, it has been medical and healthcare offices. Often at the frontline of pandemic responses, medical offices have been forced to evolve their design, client flow, and overall aesthetic in response to pandemic protocols. As the transition back to more normalized work patterns continues to unfold, the question remains: what till medical and healthcare offices look like?

As global architecture firm Gensler noted in its Design Forecast 2021:

The ongoing health, human, and economic impacts of the pandemic have forever changed how we design our environments — from creating places that enrich our communities in times of health, to spaces that shift their focus in times of crisis. A handful of industries disproportionately impact human health, and they are all in a period of profound transformation. Now more than ever, these industries — Healthcare, Sciences, Senior Living, and Wellness — are hungry for new ideas and an understanding of how they can play out in the physical and digital realms. The best solutions are the ones that improve access to care, ignite discovery, and reshape our cities to address a renewed focus on global health and wellness.

Of the five overarching considerations that Gensler emphasizes as a driver for “rethinking the health ecosystem,” two, in particular, resonate for designers working with Quiet Earth Moss products:

  • Focus on wellness.
  • Make environmental stewardship part of your business and your brand.

Focus on Wellness

As Gensler points out: “It’s not just traditional hospital settings; virtually every industry has a heightened focus on personal wellness. The health of our environments will be a primary criterion for recruitment and retention of the future workforce, and for choosing the places we live and go to school, shop, and seek entertainment. Environments and amenities that prioritize holistic well-being will have an edge.”

As we have detailed in previous blogs, the applied practices associated with green office design have come a long way in the past decade. Gone are the days of a few straggly low-maintenance plants scattered around the office are recognized as a commitment to a healthy workplace environment. Today, the trend is to toward a much more holistic integration of as many benefits of nature as possible into office environments, from interior walls transformed by greenery and cascading natural light to full and flourishing rooftop gardens.

Much of what we see in the world of green design has been inspired by biophilia, an ancient architectural and design concept reinvigorated in the late 20th century by American biologist and researcher Edward O. Wilson. The result of this reinvigorated emphasis on integrating nature into offices is clear: creating workspaces that support the emotional, psychological, and physical health of patients and staff.

Research shows that integrating nature into any office space creates a calming effect that reduces stress and triggers positive effects in the body’s immune system. In terms of staff benefits, green office design has been shown to improve concentration and, in some cases, reduce sickness-related absences by as much as 30 percent.

Made from a 100 percent natural product preserved using natural oils, preserved moss is a relatively maintenance-free, cost-effective way to integrate nature into a medical or healthcare office. Available in a range of hues that help designers create an interior color palette that emphasizes the beneficial greens and blues, both of which trigger emotional responses like calm, peacefulness, and tranquility. As a unique design feature, preserved moss products can be used in a single-moss accent wall or combined into a custom moss installation that creates repetitions and patterns that mimic those found in the natural world.

Preserved moss products also provide natural acoustic dampening, reducing typical office noise levels that studies have identified as one of the primary sources of stress within more work environments. According to researchers from the Centre for Architectural Ecology at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), preserved moss combined with ezoBord backing has a sound absorption value (AW) of 0.96. This number means that a preserved moss acoustic panel absorbs sound at the same rate as a standard office carpet with underlay.

Environmental Stewardship

In terms of environmental stewardship, Gensler projects that most companies in the medical and healthcare sector “exist to advance human health and well-being in some way. Increasingly, their customers will judge their purpose and make lasting connections based on their contributions to improving environments — as stewards of resources who actively combat climate change and support resilience. Every action taken needs to be viewed through the lens of lasting impact on the earth and reestablishing a balance between resource use and replenishment.”

Made from 100-percent natural moss cultivated and harvested according to ecological best practices, Quiet Earth Moss is preserved with natural oil that mimics the look of water. The moss appears alive and can maintain a natural appearance for years to come with relatively maintenance-free; simple vacuum or dust to restore its natural beauty. Our moss is non-allergenic, requires no watering, and is perfect for areas of a clinic with no natural light. Additionally, Quiet Earth Moss uses ezoBord backing, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

And installers love Quiet Earth Moss custom-framed pieces. Screw your custom-framed moss wall art directly to drywall or plywood, or have it suspended from the ceiling. Weighing as little as 1.5 pounds per square foot, these wholly custom pieces are a fraction of the weight of a living plant installation and require no special infrastructure for light or watering.

Conclusion

Medical and health care offices are here to stay in the post-pandemic era. But as virtual visits, at-home medical services, and other innovative options continue to take hold in the healthcare ecosystem, the need for designers to re-imagine the traditional office space is more significant than ever. Quiet Earth Moss products make eco-friendly and wellness-focused design easy and affordable. Visit our website or contact us today to discuss design options that help make your medical office a safer, healthier place for your patients to visit.