10 ways to Reduce Mental Health Absence Rates – Inclusive and Biophilic Design

The speakers will explore the impact of Inclusive and Biophilic design, revealing 10 ways to positively impact mental health in the built environment.

With stress and mental health now the single largest cause of absence days, at an estimated UK cost of £100 billion a year, evidence on the positive impact of Inclusive and Biophilic design is compelling.

Research on Biophilic design, incorporating aspects of nature such as plants and trees has reported powerful positive effects on mental processing – such as a 10% increase in attentiveness, 12% in efficiency and lower blood pres-sure in rooms with plants, even when dark.

Creating a relaxing atmosphere has a proven productivity and wellbeing improvement of 25%.

Published research on the holistic and individual impact of sensory perception in spaces has demonstrated that stress can be reduced, and performance enhanced by adjusting a range of factors to optimise use for all users.

Around 90% of human behaviour is ‘subconscious’. As our cognition sub-consciously reacts in a multi-sensory pattern, all elements in the environment need to be interrelated and designed specifically for building users.

Most building designs and standards are based on average data, such as thermal comfort, yet individual perception of space and the ability to relax and perform to best potential within varying environmental conditions operates on a broad spectrum.

‘Unavoidably average’ or irritant features are tolerated, with the pressure of social belonging and a need to conform. In studies, environmental quality factors of colour, choice, connection, complexity, flexibility, temperature, acoustics, space and light (natural and artificial) were directly linked to quality enhancements.

The speakers will demonstrate how engagement with building users and the application of neuroscience research on environmental impacts has addressed mental health and neurodiversity stigmas, increasingly capturing the potential to maximise wellbeing and create powerful economic incentives.