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Five Tips on Bringing The Office Outdoors and the Outdoors into the Office

Posted by Insightlink on 01/29/16

The dot-com culture has changed the traditional brick-and-mortar workplace culture. There is something creative and energetic in the free flowing, open workspace atmosphere. Part of the dot-com appeal is the indoor/outdoor blend that harkens back to the days of a garage-based office with the door wide open. Getting your staff to enjoy some nature time can bring up productivity, creativity and job satisfaction.

Send Them Out

Much like parents with their kids, employers need to tell employees to go outside. According to a report from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) through the University College London, the number one incentive to get employees to work outside is for the employer to repeat the instruction. Tell your staff directly that you want them to spend some time outdoors. Join them when you can. Offer technology like a ThinkPad so that productivity can continue even under a tree.

Make A Park

The report also, very logically, indicates that outdoor work requires an amiable environment. Your workers will need a park, trail or nature area where they can work. In many industrial areas, these are not always available. If space and budget allow, you may want to build a patio-park. The park can be as simple as a sitting area with several potted plants to a food-producing walkway featuring multiple relaxation points. Pinterest is a great place to find simple ideas.  

Know The Weather

Encouraging outdoor work and play has some logistical problems. Short of some Polar Plunge events, outdoor activities during February in Chicago may not happen. Florida’s weather is more acceptable but can fluctuate from very hot to raining in the course of a single day. Before you announce nature time, know what the outdoors has in store. The Accuweather app gives a pretty accurate account of the weather, at least a day or two out.  

Face The Windows

When the outside is not readily available for work, bring it in with windows. Large, uncovered window areas will inspire workers to seek out outdoor activities on their own. The ESRC report found that windows facing nature views worked almost as well as direct instruction to promote outdoor work. It also empowered the employees to seek out opportunities for nature work that the management may not have thought about.  


One of the legacies of the dot-com lifestyle was the open garage door that let the sun in. Most office space can be reconfigured so that there is a blend of the indoor with the outdoor. Game designers Mind Candy use wood veneer, artificial vines and large windows to blend the indoor and outdoor environments. Even with a thin budget, matching interior and exterior foliage can give the illusion that the workers are out in nature.  

Work From Home…

 …or wherever. By opening up the doors to the outdoors, you will naturally open conversation about working anywhere. Allowing people to work from wherever they want, an employer can increase productivity and creativity. Employees report that the opportunity to work out of the office is more desirable than a pay raise. The new generation of workers, the Millennial Generation, values this form of freedom above any other work value. Like many things, the dot-com culture was before its time. Use these lessons to make your company a special, enjoyable place to work.


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