Global Health Economics & Sustainability
This study aims to investigate the impact of biophilic design on occupational health and productivity, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of diverse populations, including the neurodiverse, during the post-pandemic return to work. With an estimated 15 – 20% of the global population considered neurodiverse, it is crucial to understand and accommodate their specific needs, such as those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum condition, and learning disabilities. These individuals face increased occupational stress, necessitating the development of targeted strategies. The renewed interest in sustainability and employee well-being has led to a resurgence of biophilic design in the workplace. Grounded in the concept that humans possess an inherent inclination to affiliate with nature, the biophilic design integrates natural elements and art into the built environment. This integration has been found to reduce activity in the amygdala, promoting stress recovery, prolonged attention, and increased productivity among employees. To effectively acclimate neurodiverse individuals in the work environment, biophilic design should be complemented using extended reality (XR) technology supported by artificial intelligence. Virtual reality, in particular, has been shown to facilitate individuals’ comfort in new workspaces, aid in self-assessments through biofeedback, and enable the adjustment of surroundings for self-regulation. Furthermore, biophilic design has the potential to promote sustainability in smart cities by integrating natural elements into the built environment. This integration helps reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and enhances energy efficiency. By creating workplaces that prioritize biophilic design principles, organizations can contribute to a more inclusive, sustainable, and productive work environment.
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Hutson, James and Hutson, Piper, "Neuroinclusive workplaces and biophilic design: Strategies for promoting occupational health and sustainability in smart cities" (2023). Faculty Scholarship. 491.