The Restorative Nature
of Biophilia


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Tracy Backus, Director, Sustainable Programs, Teknion

How intense was 2020? COVID19 changed so much, especially what was a normal workday in our normal work way. That normal work way was to continue to spend 90 percent of our time indoors. Good news; we have had the opportunity of a lifetime to change the workday and the work way - Restoration through nature.

Prior to the pandemic, whether you were in the car for your commute, lunch at your desk, stayed late hours at the office or time in the gym, your time was spent indoors. These hours of being inside man-made environments that were lacking fresh air and natural light often added to our physical and mental issues of fatigue, disengagement, stress, and burn-out.  

As interiors were beginning to transition into spaces with living walls, water features, and textiles with biophilic patterns, the world quickly shut down and we were forced to leave our office to work from home and forgo these improvements in the office. But an amazing thing happened. We have been given the opportunity to do our own research by experiencing nature first hand.

If you did what most people did, you first stayed inside. We were continually away from people and places but it didn’t take long for us to feel even more fatigued, less connected (except for virtual “zoom” calls), and frankly, less healthy. In a Covid world, these feelings of anxiety and stress seem more present and intense than ever. As humans, we looked outside quickly.  Maybe you sought the openness of a garden, an open park or any place that you could get away and find calm. By the way, did you happen to notice how blue the sky was? Were you aware of how intense the colors of the flowers were, or maybe how many bees were in the garden?   More importantly, didn’t you feel better? Were you restored after some time in nature?   We refer to this connection to nature or the “love of nature” as Biophilia. Not new, just forgotten as we went about our routine before the pandemic.  





Most likely you’ve come across the term “biophilic design.” This once architectural industry phrase is today trending into the mainstream. Biophilia is our instinctive connection to nature and other living things. The term is derived from the Greek words for “life” and “love or affection” The literal translation is “love of life.” Biophilia is more than just a philosophy. Biophilic design has been found to support cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. That’s why you felt “better” after your walk, after touching the grass with your bare feet or wading in the ocean. Through venturing out into nature, experiencing that connection mentally and physically, we are improving our well-being.


SAP AG - Teknion Case Study

Tracy Backus 

Director, Sustainable Programs, Teknion


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