The Outdoor Workspace

Jun '21

The future of the office never looked so bright. The one-size-fits-all era and nine-to-five work environment is finally over. Thoughtful, intentional design is here to stay with health, wellbeing, and collaboration at the helm.

The fact that nature nurtures, is well established. Closed office spaces with stifling air conditioning, and metal and glass structures often become a burden. No amount of artificial landscaping can provide the soothing effect and solace of nature.

Years of research prove that being surrounded by nature increases wellbeing and productivity. As a brand making “tools for togetherness”, Extremis values the needs of employees, and having access to outdoor spaces is greater than ever.

The Outdoor Workspace

“Work” is cited as the biggest barrier to spend time outside, so why limit outdoor time for leisure activities? This is where an outdoor office is increasingly coming into the picture. Why not create an outdoor workspace that’s not just meant for dining or short coffee breaks, but for real heads-down working?

The fact that workers might be in a happier place if they are in an outdoor office space is a pertinent factor to ponder and act upon. Increasingly larger numbers of offices are recognizing this need. But can we really be productive outdoors?

We want to share how we think about outdoor spaces at work. Your first step is breaking down barriers about what outdoor spaces can be, and with the right tools, opportunities are endless.

Start
with
Intention

The first step is defining the function of the outdoor space. What do your employees need to tackle their tasks? By offering a palette of different workspaces, you create surroundings that align with the task at hand.

We’ve created three sample formats built on what employees might want to achieve at work. These spaces will inspire rather than just act as furniture in the office.

Not only do you get to enjoy your work more while being in the lap of nature, but you also become more creative, happy, and productive.

Create, Connect, Collaborate

There has never been a greater purpose of the office than connecting with colleagues. Studies have shown that face-to-face communication is an invaluable contributor to factors like increased happiness in the workplace, creativity, and problem-solving. Outdoor spaces for collaboration and connection should require:

  • Furniture large enough to provide space to spread out, and ultimately host larger groups.
  • Access to screens/monitors for presentations.
  • Circular tables providing a collaborative posture with colors that boost creativity.

Rest, Recover & Nourish

Studies show that a 20-minute walk in the forest reduces blood pressure, slows breathing, and reduces stress. Rest is best will be the new mantra in the next generation workforce. Prioritizing spaces for recovery and nourishment will be key to accommodate a new change of pace in the workplace. Some things to consider for rest, recover & nourishment spaces:

  • Easy to maintain dining tables that invite to share stories and get to know colleagues.
  • Comfortable lounge positions to put your feet up.
  • Access to nature and/or biophilic elements to charge those batteries

The workplace can be a place where people actually leave healthier than they arrived in the morning.

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Fresh & Focused Work

Can outdoor spaces actually be used for work? Why, yes they can. With the right tools and added flexibility, employees will crave the outdoor space for a few hours of productive work. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a space for a full 8-hour workday. Anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours sorting through emails, a quick creative sprint, or catching up on busy work. Comfortable outdoor furniture, access to power, and flexibility are all key to fresh and focused working postures.

  • Create natural boundaries to create privacy and reduce distraction.
  • Offer adequate shade to protect you from the sun or drizzle.
  • Opt for tables with lights, plugs, and monitor access.

Now that you have your outdoor office all set, it’s time to get some work done. Enjoy the fresh air, get that creativity flowing, shoulders relaxed and focused. Don’t hesitate to take a stroll and take a look at those gorgeous plants or listen to the birds chirping. Even the distraction of a ladybird on your desk can’t break your drive!

Don’t drag your furniture outside and inside, and back out. Choose furniture that can always stay outside.

Get inspired

Any outdoor space has the potential to become an energizing workplace. A small patio, lush garden, or city rooftop, discover the many possibilities!

Get inspired by these outdoor workspaces →