Improve Employee Engagement With An Outdoor WorkSpace

Man Balances on a Tree Outside of the City

The coronavirus pandemic has made many organizations rethink how work can be done. As many people have returned to a more typical working environment, businesses can benefit from thinking outside of the box, an outdoor workspace, say. If we’ve learned anything it’s that there’s not a one-size-fits-all model for how people do their best work.

A nice alternative or supplement to remote working is the outdoor workspace. Creating an outdoor workspace is a great idea for organizations that want to offer their employees the option to work outside while at the office. Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of outdoor working spaces for your employees.

Improved Productivity

For many people, sitting in an office or cubicle all day can be a stifling experience. Employees can often benefit from a surge of productivity while working outdoors. Research shows that there are a number of concrete reasons for this mental boost. One relates to functioning memory. Studies suggest that simply walking amongst trees leads to a temporary increase in short-term memory. Working outside can have a similar positive effect.

However, this is not all. Spending twenty minutes outdoors in fresh air has been shown to have a similar effect on energy levels over the short term as drinking a cup of coffee. It is a natural pick me up. Additionally, being outdoors can boost creativity and problem-solving skills by as much as 60%, meaning that there are many concrete reasons why employees have more productivity when working outdoors.

Better Physical Health

Most organizations have realized that valuing the physical well-being of their employees is important. After all, healthy employees take fewer sick days and tend to stay at their jobs for longer periods of time. Providing employees with outdoor workspaces can have a number of benefits on their physical health.

First, a 30-minute walk outdoors can lower your pulse by 4% and reduce high blood pressure risk by 9%. Additionally, regardless of how green your office environment is, outdoor area quality is on average ten times less toxic than indoor air. Working outdoors can also provide an immune system boost. Breathing outdoor airborne plant chemicals for three days can result in an increase in white blood cells for an entire month. There are many other health benefits to working outside as well. Organizations that create outdoor workspaces can help their employees tap into these important benefits. In fact, there are many ways to create useful outdoor workspaces.

Improved Mental Health

Health and wellness certainly do not stop at physical health. Mental health is incredibly important in the modern workplace as well, particularly in jobs that can be high stress. Creating outdoor workspaces for employees provides a number of important mental health benefits that can make the workplace a calmer, more positive environment.

First, spending time outdoors naturally lowers the body’s stress. Specifically, cortisol levels – a hormone that causes a stressed state – are lowed by 12% when people are outside. The outside natural environment, especially fresh air, improves mood overall by reducing tension while creating greater levels of positive emotions. Engaging in the outdoor landscape could help improve feelings of belonging, which could result in people viewing the workspace in a more positive light.

Outdoor Spaces Easily Accommodate Work

While working outside may have seemed like an odd idea years ago, the reality is that most employees in the modern workplace can work quite well outdoors. Thanks to laptops, Bluetooth, and a variety of other technological improvements, most office jobs can be accomplished outdoors rather easily.

laptop on table in an outdoor workspace

Thus, organizations that create attractive outdoor workspaces can give employees a valuable choice regarding where they want to do their work. This can be a strong perk, particularly for offices located in favorable climates. Creating outdoor seating with lots of greenery and well-landscaped areas can create an excellent place for people to take their laptops outside and be productive amongst nature.

Dining Outdoors Has Benefits Too

Did you know that when your employees eat at their desks, it’s bad for their health? While intended to be a break, it does not actually give your brain much downtime while you’re likely to stay in work mode and keep multitasking. As such, the intended boosts to productivity and energy that should occur from a break are typically not seen. There are actually many reasons why people should not eat lunch at their desks.

Encouraging employees to take lunch breaks outdoors is a natural solution to daily burnout. Welcoming outdoor spaces encourage employees to take a walk outside to dine in a natural landscape. This results in many of the benefits typically seen from being outdoors while also providing your brain a change in scenery that triggers the intended effects of breaks. While there are many benefits of taking breaks, taking them outside can ensure that your body gets the much-needed break.

Final Thoughts

Today’s business is working diligently to ensure the creation of optimal working environments for its employees. There are a wide variety of things that organizations can do in order to enhance the experience of their workers. One thing that more companies can engage in is working to develop attractive, welcoming outdoor spaces for employees that are well-suited for work. Running electric and creating outlets in seating areas can further increase the attractiveness of these areas for staff.

There are many benefits for organizations that develop outdoor spaces for employees. They will see an increase in productivity while also contributing positively to the physical and mental well-being of employees. Organizations may even see a decrease in sick leave for employees. Additionally, most working environments are rather convenient for switching between office and outdoor work as people can easily port their laptops outside and connect to wireless internet. Finally, well-kept outdoor spaces can encourage workers to take their lunch breaks outside, which has many benefits for restoring focus and giving the brain a break. Overall, there are tons of reasons why organizations should invest in attractive outdoor spaces for employees.

 

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