Why Outdoor Spaces Are Now In
As summer approaches, we are beginning to feel a sense of normalcy as the country continues to open back up. We are now seeing a transition back into the office. As we reintroduce ourselves back into the work environment, the need for flexible space and outdoor areas are growing requests employers are facing with frequency. All of which makes the summer months the perfect time to design flexible outdoor areas that encourage wellness and connectivity.
The Desire for A New Workspace
Today, one popular trend in office design is creating an outdoor break or dining area. The need for an outdoor destination where employees can get away from their desks and formal office spaces and still connect with team members is behind the move. This desired shift in workspace environments has been accelerated by COVID-19, with employees now asking for environments that do more than just reinforce the work they are producing. They want outdoor destinations that inspire and stimulate well beyond their desks.
Getting Started on an Outdoor Space
Creating an outdoor work or break area for employees has loads of benefits attached to it. However, each workspace is different and might present numerous challenges. Concerns about lack of space or financial feasibility require serious consideration, but simplification and resourcefulness can help circumvent many restraints. There are plenty of options beyond your company’s front door, even if you’re working out of an office suite or a building in the city.
What You Need for an Outdoor Breakroom
One of the easiest ways to create an outdoor destination is by erecting an outdoor break room. Providing a relaxing break area outside allows for inspiration, stimulation, and is a definite way to increase workplace morale. You want to ensure you have all the necessary items to create an engaging break room. The essentials include patio tables and chairs or benches, so employees can have a much needed resting place. You might also want to add the right lighting, ashtray stands, mister fans, portable coolers and/or heaters, water bottle filling stations, and maybe even planters for real or nearly natural plants. Ensuring the area has plenty of power outlets will also go a long way with employees. It is all designed to put employees at ease.
Setting Up an Outdoor Eating Area
You will find an outdoor eating area can also be a great outdoor destination for employees. You will also discover that employees are more likely to take a break or a lunch break if they have a comfortable place to do so. Start with an inviting table with a large surface area. Whether it’s a picnic table or several café tables, having a table for meals makes eating outside simpler, and allows for group settings. Next be sure to add the right chairs. A comfortable chair will give employees another reason to venture outside. Ensuring you cover off on all the necessities is also important. Table umbrellas, recycle bins and cans and trash cans. Don’t forget to add the right fan or portable A/C to keep employees comfortable during the warmer months, and a heater for the cooler ones—these touches go a long way for morale and increased productivity.
The Benefits of an Outdoor Destination
It might seem obvious but giving employees a place where they can gather with co-workers, relax, or enjoy a meal has its benefits. As a matter of fact, according to a 2018 Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees claim that taking a lunch break helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.—making the required space a seemingly smart addition.
Here are some of the more obvious benefits associated with outdoor work destinations.
1. Reduced stress'
2. Increased productivity/motivation
3. Employee wellness
4. Improved physical health
5. Elevated mental health
6. Improved work culture
7. Increased attraction of employee talent
A boost to the overall well-being of a company and its employees is definitely worth the additional spend, one that will likely net a return on investment. Having access to a clean and comfortable outdoor destination, whether that’s a break room or dining area, is more than a trend, it’s a business fact that has been proven to refresh and rejuvenate employees. Which is ultimately a win-win for both employer and employees.
 EPA link
 EPA link
 Tork, 2018 Survey link
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