By Penketh Group Insights Team
4th December 2019
Speak to a personal trainer and they will tell you that summer bodies are made in the winter. Speak to our space-planning experts and they will tell you that winter is the perfect time to start making moves if you’d like to introduce an outdoor setting as part of your office design or workspace fit out for spring and summer next year.
Until recently, spending time outdoors has been a luxury reserved purely for pleasure – certainly not during the working day when you should be chained to a desk, under harsh strip lighting, taking breaks only when absolutely necessary. (We hope you’re picking up on the irony in the last part of that sentence there…) However, as culture and behaviours progress, the benefits of outdoor workspaces are becoming more and more prolific.
The benefits of an outdoor workspace include:
- Improved physical and mental wellbeing
- Less absenteeism and more job satisfaction
- Stronger attraction and retention of talent
- Better productivity and output
- A more progressive, future-proof company culture
Before we look at these in a little more depth, let us first make clear that you don’t need to have acres of land or an office in the countryside to be able to create an outdoor work setting. Whether it’s a balcony, roof terrace or even a shared courtyard, there are still ways you can reap the many advantages that come of introducing this type of workspace.
86% of 22-65-year-olds would like to spend more work hours outdoors
A survey carried out by outdoor product retailer; LL Bean revealed that a vast majority of 22-65-year-olds would like to be spending more of their working hours outdoors. Facilitating this desire will then mean that you are able to better fulfil what employees of today are looking for from a workplace. Doing so will in turn, give you better competitive advantage when attracting and retaining the best talent in your industry.
Better health & wellbeing
When researching the concept of outdoor workspaces, LL Bean also found that:
- 74% believe that working outside more would improve their mood
- 71% agree that it would help reduce stress levels
- 66% think it would help improve their general health and wellness
Health and wellness are instrumental parts of creating a positive employee experience today and giving workers a chance to get outside for some parts of the day will contribute towards this by:
- Giving access to more natural light
- Enabling people to work in an atmosphere with fresh air and better air quality
- Absorbing the benefits of real life biophilic elements
- Enabling people to move more flexibly around the workplace
A study by Stanford University revealed that being surrounded by green scenery has the potential to boost concentration by nearly 10%.
Boost in creativity
Stanford University also did an experiment which revealed that those people who walked on a treadmill indoors while working experienced a 60% increase in creativity. More to the point, however, is how this spike in creative output peaked to 81% when people worked whilst walking outside. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are amongst those who are famed for their outdoor walking meetings, so creating an outdoor workspace which is equipped and well resourced could be the way forward for you and your business too.
Optimised use of space
We’ve spoken before about how important it is to maximise use of the space you have access to, especially when it comes to smaller workspaces. Capitalising on any outdoor areas you have available to you is a great way to do this, by spilling out of the indoor environment and making use of the space you have around you, not just within the confines of four walls.
A more sustainable option
Not only can a full fit out or refurbishment be an expensive process, it can also create a temporary surge in things like carbon outage, energy usage and waste. Next time you’re wondering whether to refurb or expand, consider whether or not there is an outdoor space that you could look at transforming before making any plans to drastically alter your indoor environment.