Adding an Outdoor Space to Your Workplace
We’ve all been there. After months of the cold, snowy weather that winter brings, the first warm and sunny days of the year can make it hard to feel motivated to spend a day at the office. Especially when you work in a state like Michigan where nice weather days are limited. But what if people had access to a space that let them enjoy those nice days while still being productive?
Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of buzz around the idea of incorporating nature into workplace design. Many studies have shown that when people feel connected to nature at work, it can offer a wide range of benefits like reduced stress, improved mood, improved productivity and greater creative thinking. Looking for ways to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside is wonderful, but nothing beats stepping outside to enjoy the real thing. Not only can these types of spaces be good for productivity, they can be a great space for fun events like team lunches.
As people continue to return to the office after COVID, demand for outdoor spaces has been growing as companies look for ways to give people new ways to work safely. In addition to all the other benefits outdoor spaces can have in the workplace, outdoor spaces can give people an alternative to enclosed indoor spaces like conference rooms. And after months of working from home, many people have discovered how nice it is to take their laptop out to their deck or patio and work outside when the weather is nice.
Thinking about adding an outdoor space to your office? Here are a few important things to think about including.
Access to Power
When people decide to work outside for a while, they’ll very likely be bringing their laptops or other electronic devices with them. Keep in mind that people may need to charge up those devices every now and then, so access to power outlets is essential for helping people stay productive.
The idea of spending some time working outside can sound like a great idea. But if there isn’t any available shelter from the sun, moving outside may end up seeming like more trouble than it’s worth. Including things like umbrellas and awnings are an important way to make sure people are able to work comfortably, without problems like glare on screens, excessive heat, or the risk of getting sunburned.
Offices can have outdoor spaces that range from small patios to large areas that can accommodate larger numbers of people. If you have a bigger outdoor area to work with, you may want to consider adding some space definition to create distinct areas for different types of work areas. For example, you could have an area designed for group meetings and another area for solo work or one-on-one discussions. Outdoor rugs, planters, and other outdoor-friendly partitions are all great ways to make different areas more distinct.
As is the case with indoor workspaces, remember that people might be using outdoor areas for a wide range of reasons so versatility is important. For example, if you only have a small outdoor area available, look for furniture that can be used for as many different purposes as possible. For example, a big group table or multiple smaller tables that can be moved together can be used to accommodate groups large and small. Seating is another thing that may need to be rearranged often, so look for options that are lightweight and easy to move around as needed.
Once the seasons change and the weather starts to cool down again, it can be a let down to have to start spending more time indoors. To let people get the most out of outdoor spaces, outdoor heaters can be a great way to help people use these spaces even on days when temperatures might otherwise make people want to stay inside.
If you’re interested in adding an outdoor space to your office, Premier Construction & Design can help. Take a look through our portfolio to see examples of other projects we’ve worked on and contact us to tell us about your project.
Featured image: iStock / BrianScantlebury