How to make the most of your office’s outdoor spacePublished 11.09.19
There’s no doubt that workplace design has evolved greatly over the years. From office spaces that housed individual cubicles to multifunctional, open plan spaces, office design has become more human-centric. Biophilic design has also risen in popularity, emphasising the benefits that natural elements can have on our mental and physical health. As humans, we are instinctively drawn towards nature, with increased exposure linked to higher levels of satisfaction and productivity. Creating an outdoor office space for your employees is likely to improve overall morale and work quality; but how, exactly, can you create an area that’s great for both socialising and working?
You’ll need to spend some time assessing your existing outdoor space, figuring out what you can use to your advantage, and what exactly you’ll need to work on. If you’re working with an existing patio, for example, you can easily convert this space into a multifunctional area for employees. It’s also important to think about its proximity to the office; you’ll need to ensure that employees can still access the internet, and that they’re relatively close to other facilities they need to access regularly. If you can, create the outdoor working space in an area that’s surrounded by nature and greenery to encourage maximum productivity.
In today’s world, an office job is practically impossible without technology, with many of its facets requiring online research and collaboration. When developing an outdoor office space, you’ll need to ensure that employees have easy access to power sockets for their devices. In order to avoid too many cables interfering with the space, why not integrate power-enabled furniture? This way, employees can charge their devices with ease from the comfort of their own seat.
Ergonomic and comfortable furniture
It is, of course, essential that all furniture within an office is ergonomic and comfortable, minimising potential health risks and improving employee morale. When choosing outdoor furniture, it’s important to incorporate items that are ergonomic, but also remain in good condition in the event of adverse weather conditions. Whilst metal is a popular option, it can become slippery in wet weather – so it’s worth thinking about incorporating durable and stable materials.
Lighting and shade
Getting the right lighting is important for ensuring that employees can work effectively, whilst also preventing eye strain from computer screen backlights. It’s best to place furniture away from direct sunlight to avoid screen glare, and make sure to offer seating in shaded areas for particularly sunny days and spontaneous rain showers. As it gets darker, you will need artificial lighting options. To remain as sustainable as possible, try incorporating sensor lights that switch on as darkness falls, and switch off again as the sun rises.
At Cobus, we love being creative and flexible with workspaces, and in turn, seeing results of increased employee happiness and productivity. If you’d like more advice on how you can convert your outdoor space into an inviting employee retreat, don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our team.