Living in quarantine is a challenge; there’s no doubt about it. Even the most self-proclaimed introverts are vying for some social interaction. But, are you ready to head back to the office in close quarters with your colleagues? What if the office looked differently? What if your office came with green hedges, lush plants, living walls, a water fountain, and seeing your colleagues included natural sunlight and fresh air? Would your mind change then? With an emphasis on healthy work environments, many companies are looking at the outdoor workplace. Over the next few articles, we’ll uncover the benefits, challenges, and strategies for creating a great outdoor workplace. We’ll reveal how outdoor workspaces may make your employees feel more comfortable returning to the office. Read on to discover the many benefits of an outdoor workplace.
Early, we found that the outdoor workspace offers significant benefits for the employee. We know that being outdoors can make us feel better. But, there’s some science behind why we enjoy it the way we do. It’s called biophilia — the innate attraction we have toward nature. Several studies have shown that being outdoors is directly linked to the benefits we experience, both consciously and unconsciously. According to the AIA, the outdoors’ can “improve health, increase physical strength, boost mental alertness, …encourage[s] socialization, …helps us to recover quicker from illness, … bone-strengthening…from sunlight…[and] blood pressure and stress levels drop.” Other reports reveal that being outside can reduce the risk of type ll diabetes, cardiovascular disease, enhances creativity, makes for healthier energy levels, reduces anxiety, provides for better sleep, and self-esteem – to name a few.
Employee health and emotional benefits are impressive. The other good news is that employers can also experience significant benefits. Having healthy, happy, creative, and productive employees could be reason enough. But what’s more, thriving employees create a flourishing culture, which has the compounding benefits of employee retention, easier recruitment, winning brands, better collaboration, and company performance.
The added benefit is that the community can also reap the rewards. By leasing out, or making available, the outdoor space, a business can extend the benefits to more than just their employees. According to Maria Paula Saenz of Gensler, outdoor spaces” can provide both memorable and productive moments for users, while also serving as a platform for placemaking and sustainability.”
Outdoor workplaces merit thoughtful consideration. And as we know, life is a little better when you can take a breath of fresh air. Check back next month as we talk about the challenges to consider when creating your outdoor workplace.