Today’s world puts a premium on workplace efficiency. For the last few decades, everything has been about reducing employee distraction to boost output. That’s lead to more and more cubicle farms and higher and higher stress for employees. If you have the room and relative privacy to create an outdoor office space that can be shared among your employees, then you should. A few outdoor chairs and tables let you reap all these benefits. Here are five great reasons to break the “fewer distractions, more work” mold.
Reduce Stress in Fifteen Minutes a Day
Stress is one of the leading causes of illness in the workplace. Being overstressed can lead to harmful habits like smoking, overeating, or neglecting sleep. Being stressed also makes people more prone to depression and anxiety, both of which are shown to severely cut a person’s problem solving skills and creativity. With stress at the root of so many pressing issues, it only makes sense to alleviate it however you can. One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to take as little as fifteen minutes outside. Though the science behind this fact is still being studied, most experts believe that it has to do with how humans evolved.
The modern human way of life is far from our ancestors, who spent more than 300,000 years primarily living outside. Even more recently, past generations spent a great deal of time outside. Urban environments were rare, and even where they did exist people still walked to travel far more than today. This sudden shift to staying primarily inside and separate from nature is something humans of today are still adapting to, according to Pysch Central. Letting people out into their natural environment clears the mind, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the sort of body tension that causes headaches and upset stomachs. Letting your employees have fifteen minutes to half an hour of scheduled work in an outdoor environment will keep them happier, healthier, more creative and hardworking as the day goes on.
Increase Vitamin Absorption
Just a few minutes in even indirect sunlight will allow people to absorb vitamin D. This is a vitamin that is essential both for processing calcium and for managing the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Lack of this vitamin can cause anything from mental sluggishness to full on depression. A surplus of it stimulates outside the box thinking and just plain makes people happy. Happy employees work harder, better, and are shown to be less distracted than unhappy ones.
Boost Green Initiative
Environmentalism is a must-have for today’s businesses. If you can’t point to a single thing that your company does to save the environment, you’re going to be in big trouble with popular opinion. It’s not enough to have blue recycling bins anymore. Everyone does that. What every office doesn’t have is an outdoor office. This is very easy to set up but will do your reputation wonders as a business that cares about employee and customer health, happiness, and the state of the planet.
Get some green set up first. If you can actually plant something into the ground, that’s great. If you can’t plant then get some potted plants. The only stipulation is that they must be real. Once you’ve done that you can see how the space would look with outdoor furniture. Don’t move regular office furniture outside. It may look great in photos, but in actuality you’re just ruining good office furniture by exposing it to the elements. Vast Market outdoor furniture is easy to clean and can withstand a lot of weathering, unlike your indoor desk. Once you’ve gotten these two simple things together you can bill the area as your company’s “green retreat” and earn a great reputation.
Deescalate Unhappy Clients
If you regularly have to deal with unhappy people then you cannot get an outdoor office set up soon enough. Provided that it’s in a location where privacy won’t be an issue, you should notice a marked improvement in your relations with clients. Whether you work for the returns department of a large company or you just have one particular client who acts up at every meeting, try bringing things outside to ease the tension. All the boosts that you and your employees will receive from being outside also work on clients. With less stress in a natural setting, you’ll find that it’s easier to move the conversation forward to a reasonable conclusion.
Increase Interpersonal Engagement
One of the biggest benefits to having an outdoor office is that it gives a chance for your employees (and you) to socialize outside of the workspace, according to Small Business Bonfire. Even if you just schedule people to work outside for a little while every day, there will be a little chitchat when people change over. This sort of casual interaction is actually good for your business. People who know each other are more willing to work together and enjoy it.
For the cost of some outdoor furniture and maybe a potted plant, you can get the most out of employees while boosting your own health and well being. That’s a classic win-win scenario