Trying to get their employees the benefits of nature and the outdoors, without having to go outside, some top companies are experimenting with biophilic design. This essentially means bringing nature to the employee, if the employee can’t get to nature.

So Amazon (isn’t it all about Amazon these days??) has a new office feature with three glass and steel domes that contain more than 40,000 plants. Tree houses have been built on Microsoft’s campus. And a nine-acre rooftop park can be found at Facebook’s headquarters.

According to this article on, “The first step is, ‘Why don’t we just go outside? The second step is, ‘We’ll just bring some trees inside,’” said Amanda Sturgeon, a biophilic design expert and CEO of the International Living Future Institute, a Seattle-based nonprofit that encourages sustainable practices. “We’re trying to go to the place after that — which is, ‘What could we learn from what makes us love being outside and incorporate it into the design of our buildings?’”

It’s not all about indoor trees: “In its workspaces in Austin, Texas, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, Google has measured the amount of natural light its employees receive and tested biophilic elements ranging from plants, terraces, and water features to organic patterns in carpeting. In Google’s Chicago office, employees can access sunshine-simulating full-spectrum light by adjusting the color temperature of task lights. Studies link sunlight to elevated mood and reduced stress, among other benefits.

The article cites studies that hospital patients actually do better when they have outside views.

Like we said, we’re not arguing.