4 Coworking Spaces Doing Nature in the Workplace Right

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on June 28, 2019

Workplace leaders have spent years perfecting the structured office building. We’ve studied human behavior in an attempt to determine the ideal ratio of privacy, flexibility and access to collaboration opportunities, that also protect us from outside elements. Ironically however, recent studies have shown that incorporating nature back into the office actually increases things like mental clarity and makes people more productive. 

Considering we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors, it’s often forgotten than we crave interaction with the natural world around us. First introduced by Edward O. Wilson in 1984, the term biophilia, “describes how humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other living things”, and can be best understood by thinking about why humans enjoy walking through the forest on a hike or sitting by the ocean just to listen to the waves.  In fact, working within, around or with influences from nature has been scientifically proven to:

– increase happiness 
– reduce inflammation 
– give us more energy
– improve memory and recollection
– relive work-related stress

Even simply viewing images of greenery has its benefits. After someone views a plant image, studies show it can alter the brain’s processing mode – and people become more relaxed and focused on the task at hand. 

Dr. Joseph Allen at Harvard has also studied how indoor air affects people’s brain functions and he found that higher air quality and better ventilation led to significantly better decision-making performances. And they actually found that outdoor air had less pollutants than traditional filtered air in most offices. 

While bringing nature back inside can seem daunting, it can be done in ways that feel natural and complimentary to a space. These four coworking spaces have perfected the delicate balance between offering a functioning space and including the biophilia element. 


fullsizeoutput_1e5fphoto source: Greenhouse

Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Membership: starting at $100/month
Perks: flexible plans, pantry access, lockers, recruitment services, mail services

Greenhouse is in the business of helping foster more sustainable businesses. The coworking side of their company is rooted in sustainability, and incorporates it beautifully into their environment. To reduce their carbon footprint, all of their coworking spaces use natural light – they usually don’t even switch on their lights until 6pm. Greenhouse incorporates greenery so naturally into their space, it feels like it’s part of the structure itself. In fact, each plant in Greenhouse’s space is, “specifically handpicked to help members by providing fresh air or removing harmful toxins” from the space. And they aren’t just helping to reduce their footprint, they’re helping to build a more beautiful planet. Greenhouse plants “one tree every month for each member currently working.” They’ve planted over 1000 trees and they’re excited to keep that number growing. 


fullsizeoutput_1e60photo source: The Assemblage

Location: New York, United States
Membership: starting at $100/month
Perks: wellness programs, meditation rooms, complimentary meals, flexible commitment 

The Assemblage’s 44,000 sq. ft of coworking space, extended-stay apartments, and communal areas feels like a breath of fresh air. Even in a space this large, they have managed to create a workplace where biophilia is a priority. With two locations NoMad & John Street, they both embody the idea that, “plants and living systems are able to connect humans to the natural environment and stimulate creativity and well-being”. Currently, their NoMad location has 2,350 plants — and growing. From their outdoor rooftop terrace to their wellness studio, The Assemblage also wants you to stay healthy while at work. Complimentary yoga, sound meditation, breath-work and movement classes offered three times daily” encourage members to make themselves a priority during the day. 

PRIMARY | New York

fullsizeoutput_1e62photo source: Primary

Location: New York, United States
Membership: starting at $100/month 
Perks: studio classes, private phone booths, weekly events, shower and towel service

Primary states that they “strive to create spaces that allow people to feel focused and comfortable”. The workspace’s strikingly simply, yet streamlined workspace design celebrates their original building’s details, by balancing the character of raw materials with select fine furnishings. They also are proud to share that “each location is filled with greenery; moss walls, fresh flowers and live planters can be found throughout.” Primary understands that you can’t do good work if you don’t feel your very best. So they have made it a priority to include elements that bring focus back to your day, such as complimentary yoga classes and meditation rooms. The inclusion of greenery and live plants fits perfectly into their wellness aesthetic. 


fullsizeoutput_1e64photo source: Hub Hoi An Coworking

Location: Hoi An, Vietnam
Membership: starting at $170/month 
Perks: scooter rentals, private local chef, quiet and private rooms, outdoor space

Settled in the small town of Hoi An, Hub caters to digital nomads looking to escape the traditional office. Their open-concept workplace is nestled inside of a glass greenhouse surrounded by a tropical garden that provides views of lush greenery from every angle. Hub features both indoor and outdoor hot-desking spaces with private offices available for regular members. With all the modern conveniences like air conditioning and fast WiFi, members really enjoy the connection to Vietnamese culture and how Hub celebrates the beautiful environment they’ve been given. 

We seem to be better off with a bit of greenery in our lives, and the concept of biophilia proves this to be true. As buildings continue to go up in our cities, we should be reminded that the environment we do business in matters, and a little more green is almost always worth the investment.


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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