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Bringing the Outside In – Not just about plants!

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

The workplace is no longer just a place of boring neutral colors, materials, corridors, glass, technology, and ducting.

To attract the workforce back into the workspace; to create environments where people want to be versus must be is the core competency of Design4Life©.

Life is not just about showing up, putting up and getting through your day, it is about thriving and using your senses to become more, even while at work!

When you leave your office or workplace feeling ‘whole’ not depleted, then the environment is truly supporting you not detracting from you!

To encourage, inspire and attract staff back to offices and buildings across the world, space, its design, layout, form, and function needs to be deconstructed with one aspect of the philosophy and model to include bringing the outside in and not just via the odd poorly loved potted plant.

“How can you take the power of nature and bring her to life inside? By taking a holistic approach to every aspect that comprises a closed space.”

  • Access to views of nature from windows means improving the landscape around buildings and truly having a garden full of trees, bushes, edibles, and flowers; how fun to be able to cultivate a small garden in or around the complex or on a rooftop; to pick fresh strawberries or tomatoes on a Tuesday afternoon? How wonderful to be able to bring your children to see a working garden story?

  • Grow towers and Zip walls bring life to the boring tall walls of corridors and provide interest, day to day changes and herbal fragrances wafting gently as you walk by.

  • Improving air quality and ventilation so that each feels the air they breathe is good, healthy and brings health and vibrancy versus fatigue and strain; recycled air is the bane of so many buildings, so the how to make it better is paramount to health and safety.

  • Natural lighting that invigorates vision and does not cause eye strain; using lighting that heals; full spectrum lamps designed to emulate the full electromagnetic spectrum of light recognized as midday sunlight in terms of its appearance to the human eye.

  • Acoustics that help concentration without the constant need for headsets and ear buds; how more engaging and collaborative is a space that allows people to listen without distraction and hear without feeling the need to isolate themselves from their co-workers

  • Natural materials, calming colors, organically designed furniture add a sense of peacefulness and calm to the somewhat isolated cubicle or chaotic noise of busy offices that is inherent with realities of doing business.

Nature is not just plants, it is a compilation of senses; it is color, texture, smells, sounds, tastes, and feelings. How we design the future of workspace hinges on recognizing that all the wondrous elements of architecture including metal, concrete, plastics, and composites provide building stability not human health.

When we bring nature inside, we bring in wholeness.


Barbara Boden is one of 4xi's Managing Partners & Co-Founders. She specializes in global hospitality and employee amenity strategic thought leader focused on data-driven insights. Barbara and the entire team at 4xi are here to help you drive positive change and impact. To learn more about Barbara download her BIO, or you can contact her directly at


4xi: Inspiring a brighter future, together.

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side creating an impact on the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.

We believe in a people-first, experience-led philosophy, whether client, employee or guest – their experience is the fundamental foundation of success.

We work with corporations, service providers, and innovators:

  • Strategic Advisory & Special Projects (SPx)

  • Headquarters Fractional Support On-Demand

  • Evolving Experiences© - Employee (EX) & Customer Experience (CX)

  • Design4Life©: Environmental, Physical, and Experiential Design

  • Global Amenities Strategy, Design & Operations

  • TRUE NORTH©: Strategic Partnership & Growth

  • Explorers Innovation Directory: Gateway to Innovation

  • Sustainability Simplified©: Supply Chain & Innovation

  • Market Research Reports & Benchmarking


4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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