Gone are the days of jobs solely taking place within a brick-and-mortar building or a skyscraper in the middle of downtown. Businesses are branching out to try other ways of carrying out their day-to-day work, and employees are beginning to expect more when it comes to the place they come to work.
These demands have led to an increased interest in outdoor office spaces. Ranging from practical to personal health to overall morale, outdoor office spaces can make a huge impact on the everyday workday. Here are 18 reasons why this trend has begun to take hold, and why we may see more outdoor office spaces in the future.
18 Reasons Why Outdoor Office Spaces are on the Rise
This growing trend has many benefits for both the environment and the businesses implementing it. The environment benefits from any plants added to the industrial landscape, and planting trees helps our planet.
These effects not only help reduce the overall carbon footprint of businesses, but may help employees feel less guilty about their place in a business that might have a large environmental impact.
2A Break From the Mundane
As the widespread COVID-19 lockdowns wind down, non-traditional workspaces have gained traction. Workers have realized that they deserve a better experience than sitting at a desk in a stale office all day. Outdoor workspaces, with all their benefits, are likely to attract workers both old and new.
During the lockdown, many workers did their office work in coffee shops or at home. Now that companies are pushing for things to return to normal, they are going to have to compete with the much more enjoyable environments their workers have grown used to. Part of this is the freedom to move the workspace around and work outside on nice days.
3Providing Fresh Work Options
People now entering the workforce are aware of the many options they have for working. Those people are going to want better working conditions. Employees are now holding companies responsible for providing stimulating and enjoyable work experiences. The days of soul-sucking labor are fading out; a company is more likely to attract new workers by being innovative with their space.
As this trend grows, not taking advantage of it may be disadvantageous for businesses in the future. Potential hires may be discouraged by the lack of innovation and effort put forth by the company towards making the workplace a stimulating environment.
Being in nature is good for physical and mental well-being, but it also may help keep our memory sharp. According to the study by the University of Michigan, even just looking at a picture of nature or greenspace can improve retention. That means that even just looking out the window at an office’s greenery can help employees.
5Increase Happiness and Mood
Nature helps boost peoples’ moods. Our bodies have a natural connection to the outdoors, and being surrounded by nature can stave off feelings of being overwhelmed or frustrated. Some symptoms of depression and anxiety may be reduced by a calming walk outside.
Nature can also bring feelings of peace. Instead of being locked in a dull and sterile office space all day, having the opportunity to work outside can help employees relax and enjoy their environment. This may boost their moods and make working more of an enjoyable experience.
Ever been invigorated by a fresh breeze on a sunny day? Working outside may lead to higher energy levels in employees looking to get things done. Being outside provides better access to fresh air, which can increase a person’s oxygen levels. People also may feel greater focus outside than they do in a boring corporate environment.
Being outside can lead to the reduced production of stress hormones such as cortisol. Greenspace is associated with inner peace and meditative activities, so it is likely to provide a feeling of calm during stressful times. Researchers have also found that being outside lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Whether it’s a nature reserve or a green park behind the office, you can see the benefits in reduced stress.
8Nature Is a Great Place to Spend Breaks
If moving the workspace outside is too burdensome or impossible, taking breaks outside can still provide some of the same benefits.
Employees are likely to take advantage of the opportunity to relax in the peace of nature during a hard and strenuous workday.
While the time spent outside during a break will be shorter than time spent working, a brief walk in nature can still improve mood and allow for some stress relief. The change of environment may also allow the person to relax more fully mentally, which is important for their well-being. Some people may find that spending their break outdoors gives them a second wind that allows them to go back to work feeling refreshed and motivated.
9Improved Employee Health
There are many potential mental health benefits to be found by going outside, but going outdoors can also be beneficial to an employee’s physical health. Taking a break from sitting in a chair to walk outside can help prevent aches and pains.
Some studies show people who spend more time in natural spaces have less internal inflammation than those spending their days only cooped up indoors.
The most obvious benefit to being out in nature is sunlight, which provides vitamin D. Vitamin D can help fend off various illnesses and conditions, which prevents people from getting sick.
People who spend more time outside may find improvements in their cognitive abilities. The combination of energizing sunlight and relaxing nature can help to improve memory. Research has shown that being in the presence of nature enhances short-term memory and improves the attention span.
Having outdoor office spaces doesn’t just benefit employees. The higher-ups of companies will see the results that incorporating nature into the office has and will probably work to keep the green spaces. Workers who are feeling better work better.
Employees working outside can enjoy improved concentration. With the improvement in cognitive abilities, employees will be able to concentrate better on their work when exposed to nature throughout the day. The presence of nature can also help stave off boredom and depression, which allows people to work more efficiently.
Alongside increased concentration, workers will be more productive if they are allowed to work outside. The energy that comes from being in nature can be more motivating than that sixth cup of coffee. People also work better in general when they enjoy their workplace.
Employers may see better communication between coworkers when outside spaces are implemented into the office. Not only will the natural environment put workers into a better mood, but the design of outdoor office spaces can focus on discussion by design. Outdoor living spaces can be used for company meetings to facilitate discussion in a positive environment.
14Improved Appeal to New Hires
Innovative workspaces are often appealing to potential hires. The expectations for companies to care about their employees’ well-being are rising, and businesses need to implement systems that benefit their workers. A business that has and allows workers to use an outdoor workspace shows that it cares about the well-being of its employees – especially compared to a business that requires its workers to work in a building for eight or more hours a day.
15Better Worker Retention
In addition to attracting new hires, introducing outdoor workspaces may make current employees more likely to stay. After coming back to the office space, employees who’ve worked from home may find the old office less inspiring than their home workspace. Adding outdoor areas might be a welcome change for returning employees who are resistant to coming back from the office.
16Environmental Benefits from Outdoor Spaces
Setting up areas that can be lit with natural sunlight can cut down on the overall use of electricity. In areas where it is possible, outdoor workspaces can even be powered with solar energy rather than less sustainable methods.
More green spaces is overall just better for the world. There is no reason not to plant more greenery. Trees provide natural shade and increase oxygen production, not to mention help combat climate change.
17Implementing These Changes is Relatively Easy
Utilize patio areas or rooftop spaces for outdoor offices or meeting places. Create an outdoor living space, perhaps even an outdoor kitchen for a break area. This doesn’t have to be fancy or upscale – there is plenty of quality outdoor furniture on the market and the investment will be worth it.
Make outdoor areas places employees can actually work from. Adapt or design the outdoor space so that workers can do their jobs outside in nature if they want to. Equip outdoor spaces with access to WiFi, power outlets, and charging stations. Provide shaded areas so that employees can still work on sunny days without worrying about being able to see their computer screens. You might find that your new green spaces are the most popular spots at the office.
If it is impossible to move the actual work, make other parts of the job easy to do outside. Move meetings to the outdoor patio, not only will it put everyone in a good mood, but since cognitive abilities improve when in nature the quality of the meetings may improve! Allow employees to spend their breaks or lunch outside, so that they can still get some of the benefits from nature.
18Locations Are Readily Available
Now there are entire real estate ventures that are aiming to provide for businesses that might not be able to renovate their current spaces for these ventures. Or maybe even startups looking to give themselves an edge and stand out as they expand their workforce.
Places such as Clock Tower Commons are making this switch much more easy and more affordable for many businesses. Now anyone can make their staff happy with the outdoors and maybe we will all begin to move away from the dreaded midday slump with a bit of sunshine.