For businesses that are blessed with high-potential outdoor space when it comes to offices, making the most of the warm weather can provide more than just a mood-lifting ambience for employees.
Whether you’re able to welcome the summer months with an outdoor breakout area, al fresco meeting space, or a fully-fledged outside office, the benefits of utilizing natural light and fresh air can be vast for your staff.
Around 73% of employees believe that natural light contributes to their job satisfaction, while a recent study found that call center workers processed calls between 6% and 12% faster when operating in the sunshine.
Despite the clear positives that more outdoor exposure can bring to employees, businesses are relatively slow to embrace their newfound ability to incorporate the outside world into their operations.
Thanks to WiFi extenders, cloud technology, and improved technological durability, it’s easier than ever to utilize outdoor spaces within a business. But how can you get started in creating a conducive outdoor environment for employees to enjoy? Let’s take a look at how it’s possible to ramp up your productivity in the great outdoors:
Assess Your Outdoor Space
Before you get to work in adapting your outdoor space for employees to enjoy, it’s important to know what you’re working with and how you want to use it.
If you’ve got room for tables and chairs then you could feasibly craft an entire outdoor lounge for hosting meetings and dining. However, in many cases, very few companies have significant space to work with.
Despite this, even if you have room for one table and chairs, you can comfortably create a brand new meeting space, add workstations for outdoor productivity, or create a lunch area for teams.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t have a garden to work with. For more urban offices, it could be useful to make the most of rooftop spaces as a way of building your exposure to the elements and it’s certainly worth checking your health and safety obligations to see if you could create a space on the roof for working dining, or entertaining clients.
Get Down to Logistics
Naturally, logistics play a big role in setting up a functional outdoor space for employees.
Whether you’re looking to turn your area into a productivity space or simply an area outside of your office to relax, it’s important to utilize WiFi extenders, power outlets, USB ports, canopies, umbrellas, awning, pergola, heat lamps, or other appropriate connectivity and protection from the elements where necessary.
Take a moment to explore your specific needs and ensure that your employees can remain as productive as possible when utilizing their outdoor space.
Cater to Different Needs
Outdoor office spaces can help to provide employees with a much-needed change of pace from life indoors. Natural light, sounds, and even the smell of operating outside can hold great advantages for workers.
To make the most of your outdoor areas, it’s worth providing different options for workers. Adding different types of seating options to choose from that are portable and comfy, providing ergonomic desks, different levels of protection from the sun, and opportunities to work as closely or far from your neighbors as you would like can all help to add comfort to outdoor working.
Don’t Ignore Artificial Lighting
While natural sunlight is an important and healthy productivity tool for all of us to embrace, sometimes conditions can become a little too restrictive in the mornings and evenings when you’re relying on the sun alone to keep things bright and clear outside.
There’s nothing worse than losing your rhythm on an autumn afternoon because you have to move back into the office while the sun goes down. It could even become dangerous to navigate outdoor spaces on gloomy mornings without sufficient artificial light to guide employees.
With this in mind, it’s certainly worth adding artificial lighting to your outdoor space, which can help add a layer of safety and assistance to the natural light in cooler months.
Cater to Employee Privacy
Particularly if your outdoor space is overlooked by offices, houses, or public spaces, privacy can be a vital consideration for employee comfort and company privacy.
Retractable awnings and shade sails are easy-to-install elements that help to keep workers not only safe from prying eyes but also the elements. By providing protective layers against the sun, wind, and rain, your outdoor areas can be kept functional in a variety of conditions, helping it to become its very own all-season space.
Use Greenery to Separate Spaces
Traditional office spaces can benefit from natural separation to help afford a level of comfort for employees without feeling exposed to those around them.
This effect can be achieved in outdoor spaces by using greenery like plants and hedges to isolate spaces for employees to stay productive, collaborate with colleagues, or meet clients in confidence. This can help to maintain professional distances in a more aesthetic manner than through walls or wooden space dividers.
Embracing Outdoor Working
Technology has made it easier than ever for businesses to create outdoor spaces for their employees to thrive. With the ability to work, collaborate, relax, or entertain clients outside, we can all benefit from fresh air and sunshine as part of our everyday lives.