As social distancing, wellness checkpoints and mandatory masks will continue to be part of the work experience for the foreseeable future, companies are looking to create outdoor workspaces for a better workplace experience.
Think about it. Your entire office design — from your indoor workstations to your breakroom to your outdoor space — speaks volumes about your brand as well as the culture and vibe of your company.
And with summer just around the corner, why not use your outdoor space as a place people can work alone or with their coworkers while catching some much-needed rays after a long winter of social isolation?
With 60 million Baby Boomers retiring by 2025, there aren’t nearly enough people to fill the gap, which means you will have to think outside the box when it comes to attracting top talent. Creating a cool outdoor space is an easy way to do that.
Whether your space needs to be designed from scratch or simply needs some sprucing up, here are some great ideas for outdoor furniture and space design to enhance the workplace experience, ultimately attracting and retaining your best employees.
What are the Benefits of Outdoor Workspaces?
Savvy managers know that collaboration and innovation are more likely to happen during those spontaneous, face-to-face conversations. Employees, on the other hand, value the time they gain from not having to commute and the comfort of working from home.
If your company has adopted a hybrid model that offers a combination of in-person and remote work, you need to work harder to entice people to come to the office.
Even if you haven’t adopted this policy, you need all of the ammo you can get in your arsenal to win the battle for the best talent.
But do outdoor workspaces matter? Yes, they do. In addition to being a safer way to collaborate, here are three other benefits that will help attract and retain your employees:
1. Problem-Solving and Productivity
The “spice of life,” variety keeps employees from getting bored, thereby improving concentration. Working in different spaces also allows people to shift their perspective, which could help with problem-solving.
2. Relaxation and Creativity
One of the benefits of working remotely is the ability to work outside, which feels more like a vacation or a field trip rather than “work.” This doesn’t mean they won’t get work done, though.
Exposure to the elements of nature, such as landscaping featuring flowers and trees, or simply the sounds of birds, makes them more relaxed and increases creativity.
After a year of feeling the world has spiraled out of control, giving them more choices and control over their work environment may help ease some of their anxiety.
3. Health and Immunity
Sunshine and fresh air are not only rejuvenating but being in direct sunlight is one of the best ways to increase vitamin D. And no, the sunlight coming through the window doesn’t count. You only get the damaging rays and none of the vitamin D-producing rays.
As the experts have been reminding us, vitamin D helps with immunity. Unfortunately, around 70% of people in the United States have insufficient vitamin D levels.
This shouldn’t be a surprise considering how much time we spend indoors due to work and how long the winters are in some areas.
Sleep studies also show that exposure to sunlight earlier in the day helps melatonin production at night, which increases the chances of a better night’s sleep.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard the advice that it’s safer to meet in open, airy spaces outdoors versus crowded rooms with poor ventilation.
Having an outdoor workspace creates a safer environment for collaboration and extends your square footage, making it easier for employees to follow the social distancing guidelines.
Essential Furniture for Your Outdoor Workspace
At Office Basics, we partner with companies that are making a difference. The following companies create great outdoor furniture that is comfortable, attractive and eco-friendly.
To choose the right furniture, you need to decide how your company will use the space. Will it be primarily for:
- Individual work?
- An alternative to the break room?
- After-work events such as office parties?
- A combination of the above?
Once you know the primary usage of your outdoor space, you can start thinking about the furniture and other elements you need to achieve that goal.
A brand that is committed to sustainability and the environment, KFI Studios is making a difference by using its expertise to reduce landfill waste.
For seating, consider the durable, yet stylish and comfortable chairs and benches of its Eveleen Collection. Want a more festive vibe for your outdoor space? The Express Yourself line does just that through its vibrant colors.
If you’re going for a more classic look that is suited to both indoor and outdoor usage, on the other hand, the Five Thousand Collection may be right for your company.
Small tables and chairs, as featured above, allow your employees to work individually as well as collaborate in small groups while following your company’s social distancing policies.
Be sure to space the furniture appropriately and ask employees to refrain from moving the tables or sharing tables with their coworkers.
To bring in a home-like vibe, Breezesta’s sustainable outdoor furniture has a residential feel while still being very durable, which is great for outdoor use. Made of Polywood or recycled milk jugs, Breesta is premium-quality eco furniture made in the USA.
Their comfortable couches and chairs create the relaxed atmosphere of home while encouraging collaboration.
This furniture is also perfect for informal events, such as after-hours office gatherings. Again, you’ll want to have guidelines around using this furniture.
Beyond COVID-19: The Future of Your Outdoor Workspace
Whatever route you go, think about the best outdoor space design and furniture for safe collaboration, but also how these elements will impact your company after COVID is under control.
Ultimately, you want to invest in an outdoor space that you can use for years to come, so think about your brand, culture and values.
If socializing is an important part of your company’s culture, consider adding a grill to go along with your outdoor couches and chairs.
If you’re going for a more hip, upbeat vibe, choose furniture with bright colors and set up a sound system that allows your employees to listen to music while they work, much like sitting outside at a coffee shop.
A fountain adds a relaxing touch while portable canopies and heat lamps extend the amount of time your employees can spend outdoors.
Want to know the real secret of attracting and retaining top talent and increasing employee engagement? Create a positive workplace experience.
One way to do this is to show employees you care about their well-being through your policies, benefits, messaging, and yes, workspace design.
If you’re stressed out about creating the perfect outdoor workspace, relax. As experts in space design and furniture installation, we can help you bring your vision to fruition within your budget. Contact us today for a consultation!