Tips for Incorporating an Outdoor Space in Your Office

Photo credit: Apple

More and more large companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google are incorporating design concepts centered around the outdoors in their overall design. This might look like trees growing through the center of a well-lit lobby or materials that make you feel like the designers have brought the outdoors in, such as using stone or unfinished wood.

There is nothing quite like the real outdoors, though.

Although it is still argued, there is an idea that humans are naturally drawn to the outdoors. As time progresses, more scientists, sociologists, designers, and architects are accepting this, and it has come to be called the biophilia hypothesis.

If you have been looking for ways to increase your employees' productivity or decrease your turnover rate, then incorporating outdoor spaces into your office is an excellent option to consider. Wondering about how you can tailor this to your space? We have a few ideas.

Photo Credit: L.L. Bean

Build Outside the Box

Start by thinking outside the box. For example, does your office space have a lawn or yard that you can utilize? Even if you don't, you could go the way of L.L. Bean and build outdoor coworking stations on a concrete space, filling it with plants to make the city center feel like the wilderness.

You can also utilize areas like a rooftop or balcony. The key to using these areas comes is getting creative with the design of the space. If you just put a couple of chairs out on a hot roof or extended balcony, you are unlikely to attract your employees to work outdoors. Instead, make it appealing and suitable for work by using some of the other design tips outlined below.

Harness the Contrast of Shade to Sun

One of the primary positive aspects of incorporating an outdoor space into your office is the sun. As many of us who enjoy the outdoors know, the sun is also what makes it more difficult to work outside. No matter how bright our screens go, there is nothing like the headache you get from trying to see your laptop in the bright sun.

That being said, use the sun wisely. Provide plenty of areas where the sun can stream in, perhaps through skylights or large windows if you have more of an enclosed space. In open spaces, consider protected pergolas that let plenty of light through their slats. Consider the direction the sun will come from during the bulk of the workday. Position the windows or exterior structures in ways that the light won't shine directly on workspaces but around them instead.

Other options for an open area, such as a patio, include using umbrellas and shade screens to craft workstations. In this case, it is best to invest in auto-tilt umbrellas so you can adjust the shade canopy throughout the day.

Create Using Naturalistic Materials and Open Spaces

A well-designed outdoor space isn't only determined by the placement of the space but also the materials used in the design. The more natural you can make the architecture and materials, the more it will make employees feel like they are at one with the surrounding nature while still connecting to WiFi and working efficiently.

Natural materials can be all kinds of things, but it is arguably best to select those that fit with the character of the surrounding area or those that you can source locally and sustainably. These could be wood, stone, or even clay.

Increase Functionality

Try to make these spaces as functional as possible. Many of thes