If you’re based here on the Wirral, then it’s no surprise to learn that it rains for a good 70% of the year. For this reason, you might think we have lost our marbles in suggesting that having an outdoor office would be a good idea. According to the statistics though, having an outdoor work area is a hot commodity among the workforce of today, so it might be worth considering.
Before we go any further though, let’s be clear about one thing – we aren’t talking about relocating your entire workspace into the wilderness or pitching up a marquee for the next company board meeting here. We’re simply talking about a small workspace or two in an outdoor environment which staff can use when the mood (or the weather) suits.
It could be a single table and chairs in the courtyard, a bench on a balcony or a whole al fresco hot desking cluster if you’ve got the luxury of space and spare cash to play with. It’s just about breaking out of the four walls you’re so accustomed to, to become more progressive, flexible and adaptive to a continually diversifying workforce.
Pros of an outdoor workspace
Attraction and retention of talent – A survey by outdoor furniture brand, LL Bean found that 86% of 22-65-year-olds would like to be spending more of their work hours outdoors. Give your staff what they need if you want to keep them.
Good for the health and soul – LL Bean also revealed that 74% think working outside would boost their mood, while 71% agree it would reduce stress and 66% agree it would improve general health and wellness.
Getting closer to Mother Nature – Indoor plants and biophilic interior design elements are great but you really can’t beat the real thing. Working outside will give staff access to the benefits of more natural light and improve quality of fresh air.
Maximised use of space – Small businesses are often low on space, taking advantage of what’s around the office and not just inside it will help you optimise what is available to you.
The problems with an outdoor office
Weather dependant – As with most things, with every silver lining comes the cloud and, in this case, the weather is one of them (pun totally intended). Combat this by ensuring you invest in some weatherproof furniture which is suitable for outdoor use. Or, consider an open sided workspace, with a roof!
Can be expensive – Sure, it could cost an arm and a leg but as long as you work within your means and stick to a strict budget, there’s no reason why you can’t reap the benefits of even a very modest outdoor workspace.
Space isn’t always available – If you don’t have any outdoor space to call your own it can be more of a challenge! Instead, go for a stroll around a nearby park, work from home in the garden or hunt down a shared roof terrace.
What are your thoughts on outdoor workspaces? Leave them in the comments below or let us know over on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.