The idea of working outdoors has been around for years, but new outdoor spaces are less about escape and more about supporting varied workstyles and human connections. In fact, many businesses considering a remodel, including corporate offices, higher education campuses, and healthcare facilities consider outdoor spaces a tool to attract top talent and new customers. But is the investment worth it? Here are three benefits to creating spaces that support working outside.
Boosting Human Performance
Access to natural light and views of the outdoors can help to drive positive energy. In a survey from HR advisory and research firm Future Workplace, over 70% of respondents said natural light and views improved their work performance. More than half said these elements increased their commitment to the company. Research also indicates that outdoor spaces and the change of scenery increase the ability to focus, tackle complex problems, and think creatively. To capitalize on the benefits of outdoor work, leaders should consider implementing an agile work policy where employees are empowered to move throughout the office both indoors and out.
Inspiration for café and social spaces from Da Gama Canteen in Houston, Texas. Honey Yellow Hula Chairs. Photo by Chase Daniel.
Investing in Wellbeing
In addition to supporting productivity, working outside has been linked to boosting overall wellbeing. “Nature deprivation,” caused by too much time looking at screens, can decrease a worker’s overall wellbeing and cause feelings of isolation, restlessness, and decreased concentration. Even being outside for short durations can have an impact. Research also supports that spending time outdoors can reduce stress, increase energy, and boost mood levels. To leverage the benefits of being outside, consider creating outdoor spaces with products like Bowen and Hula Chairto provide places to gather and focus.
In a Forbes interview, L.L.Bean’s Director of Brand Engagement, Kathryn Pratt, revealed takeaways from their piloted outside workspace. “We were surprised to hear that being outside with co-workers encouraged a different type of conversation. It seems like being outside helped build stronger relationships with colleagues,” said Pratt. Furniture solutions like the Rita Lounge are a great way to design modern social spaces that invite people to build connections in both corporate and hospitality environments.
Regardless of profession, the benefits to spending time outside are clear. Investing in outdoor spaces is a research backed method of elevating productivity, increasing collaboration, and protecting employee wellbeing. Whether you’re planning a restaurant remodel, a corporate social space, or a higher education café experience, consider how to leverage outdoor spaces to help support human performance and well-being.