Branching Out

Although summer is now a distant memory, the human desire to engage with the great outdoors persists. For most of us who are office-bound, this typically involves a once-a-year summer drinks party on the company roof terrace. However, if you’re lucky enough to work at Microsoft’s forested campus in Seattle, you now have the choice to work from decks and meeting rooms in purpose-built tree-houses. Working outside has been shown to improve creativity, whereas a study by Mind suggests that engaging with nature can reduce anxiety. The recent trend towards biophilic design in the workplace is driven by productivity and wellbeing gains. A study of call centre workers showed that productivity increased by 7% among those with a view of an outdoor environment. Meanwhile, the design of new buildings using cross-laminated timber has both cost and environmental benefits. A potential rewriting of the three little pigs story might see the timber house come out on top.