We all know how rejuvenating a breath of fresh air, a leisurely walk, or a change of scenery can be. Stepping outside for even just a few minutes can make you feel more positive, productive, and enthusiastic about the day ahead. So why not provide this opportunity to your employees as well? Incorporating outdoor spaces into the workplace allows workers to break away from their desks and recharge in nature.

Research has long shown that outdoor exposure can lower levels of cortisol—the human stress hormone—and stimulate creativity. According to a Texas A&M study, outdoor spaces at work offer many benefits, from reducing stress and illness to improving team building and social relationships in the workplace.

Embracing this trend, known as biophilia, is smart business if you’re trying to compete for the best and brightest workers or boost employee engagement. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, having outdoor spaces that employees can easily access is also important for ensuring health and wellness.

Don’t have a fancy rooftop terrace or tons of green space? No problem! Whether you have a small patch of lawn or a more expansive site, here are a few of our favorite ways to use outdoor office furniture to create spaces for workers to relax and rejuvenate.

Landscaped Courtyards

If you have accessible outdoor spaces or enclosures near your building, you can easily turn them into tranquil settings where employees can go when they need to unplug or work in the fresh air. Arrange cafe-style tables, chairs, and benches so workers can hunker down with a laptop, catch up with colleagues or read a book during their lunch break. Install trellises with climbing plants, freestanding walls, or water features to block noise from high-traffic areas nearby.

Balcony Hideaways

Landlocked but got a rooftop or balcony? Transform it into a lounge area! Equip with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and umbrellas to create private work pods for individuals or a mobile space for meetings or team huddles. Furnish your balcony with ornamental trees, flowers, and container plants, and decorate with outdoor couches and loveseats to encourage connection and conversation. Throw in some outdoor bar furniture, and you’ve got an ideal space for hosting networking receptions or team-building events.

Patio Gathering Spaces

Take advantage of any hardscape patio area you have to create an outdoor oasis where employees can gather to relax, eat lunch and socialize. Provide flexible chairs, tables, and other types of seating that can be easily moved around and are weatherproof. Plant trees, add a pergola for extra shade, or invest in covered picnic tables to block the sun and rain. You can even create a grilling station with a built-in grill, bar, or fire pit. Spaces like these are great for hosting company lunches or summer barbecues.

However you design your outdoor space, make sure you have the basics—Wi-Fi connectivity and places to plug in—so employees have the option to either work in nature or escape and enjoy their surroundings. And include plenty of shade, plants, and flexible seating! Want more insight on how you can spruce up your outdoor space with furniture, landscaping, and other features? Contact us for ideas!

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