Interior design strategies for nature-based features to support stress reduction in knowledge workers

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Callaghan, M. Ann
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According to Duxbury and Higgins 57% of full time employees reported high levels of stress. Stress is impacting the productivity, health and well-being of individuals, and the bottom line of employers. A growing body of evidence suggests exposure to nature, nature-based features, and biophilic design may offer a solution to reducing stress in the office workplace. This thesis brings together a comprehensive body of information drawn from the neurosciences and environmental psychology, including attention restoration theory (ART), psycho-evolutionary theory, Kellert’s biophilic design elements, and seven case studies, to propose key nature-based interior design strategies for stress reduction in office knowledge workers. Providing direct and indirect exposure to nature appears to have the strongest impact on mitigating the stress response. The importance of the integrated design process (IDP), post-occupancy evaluation (POE), and barriers to incorporating biophilia centred design practices are addressed and process strategies proposed.
biophilia, stress reduction, biophilic design, interior design, knowledge workers, nature, wood, plants, nature-based features, office workers, health, well being