Why do companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook consistently get rated as some of the best places to work? Is it the highly competitive salaries or great benefits? Actually, most research indicates that these firm’s advanced social environments are responsible for their high employee satisfaction rankings. When you consider this, it does not come as a surprise. We are all human, companies employ humans, and as humans we are biologically hardwired to socialize with each other. Lately, businesses that recognize this simple concept have integrated outdoor working environments into their offices to help foster productivity and efficiency. Kirt Martin, at Landscape Forms Inc. says, “Inside, we know what the value proposition of a space is down to the square foot. All this usable space is only inches away, but a lot of times, outdoor space is overlooked and people often shrug their shoulders when looking at how to use it.” So, what exactly are the benefits of utilizing outdoor spaces?
A Place to Meet, Outside
Naturally, we all associate the office with a place we go to work. But actually, much of the time that we spend socializing at work is just as important to our creativity and productivity as that highly proclaimed work-ethic we are supposedly born with. Since work environment clearly influences productivity it’s important for businesses to figure out how to support them both. “As an employer, it would be nice to provide more options to employees. The modern day office has to be a place where you go to find the best resources and best accommodations. This (concept) may be more about how to treat employees” says Martin.
When you take Martin’s perspective into account, it seems as if an outdoor workspace is a relatively small sacrifice to make in terms of the substantial benefits it could have on company morale. On top of cultivating workplace social interaction and team-building opportunities, the very fact that the outdoor-office option exists might mean the world to employees. From a design standpoint, the outdoors offers endless possibilities to innovate and create new standards of architecture. Shade technology that adjusts with the angle of the sun and simple plant designs that interact with the lighting scheme are interesting ideas that have been utilized in recent designs. Combining the beauty of nature with the utility of an indoor office seems to be the ultimate goal in bringing employees together in both a social and functional way.
Green Employers Avoid Lawyers
A recent study done by the Society for Public Health Education found that employees that spent more time in nature during work reported significantly less perceived stress and stress-related health complaints. Of course, all work does not lend itself to outdoor conditions, but implementing a space that features greenery and access to nature when employees want it can be vital to nurturing healthy interactions between individuals. Today it is well known that spending the day in artificial lighting causes cortisol levels (your body’s chemical that is responsible for coping with stress) to drop, resulting in fatigue and anxiety. As it turns out, getting some sun while answering your emails might just be the refresher you need in the middle of the day to help combat the negative health effects of office work. Lower stress levels mean greater productivity and more energy to interact with colleagues in a friendly way.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see how not only will a mid-day respite to the outdoors refresh your (and your employees’) focus and create a relaxed environment, but it will also cut down on calls to the lawyer regarding company, and employee, conflicts. The list goes on and on, but the bottom line is that office work is unnatural. Incorporating green features into your outdoor, or even indoor, space is a simple solution that will create a more relaxed and healthy environment. Your body, and company, will thank you.
The Future Outdoors is a Functional, Sociable Outdoors
In this ever-changing business world, incorporating environment friendly building features benefits the workplace environment, employees, and the incredibly social nature of New York City. Turning your office rooftop or terrace into a functional working space might just be the spark your business needs to reach that next level of success. At Talisen, we are committed to having a hand in creating spaces that enrich the social atmosphere in which we all live. Check out our recent article on green rooftops for ideas on how to turn your outdoor, and indoor, office into a peaceful and productive work area. Let us know what you think about outdoor work environments and the future of office design in the comments section below, on Twitter (@TalisenCorp), and LinkedIn.