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It’s the time of year when there are days where the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there’s a warmth to the air that has a faint smell of summer. No matter how amazing your office space is to work in, you’re just dreaming of picking up your desk and moving it outside to enjoy the sunshine. More and more, people are realizing just how important access to the outdoors is to our mental health and wellbeing, especially if you often work indoors.

Design Collaborative loves integrating outdoor spaces into workplace design, knowing how beneficial it is to employees. A study from Texas A&M University showed that having an outdoor space at work could reduce stress, build teams, improve physical activity in employees which reduces illness, and create better social interactions. Providing landscaped areas is a great way to spark creativity, improve peoples’ moods, and promote collaboration through a change of scenery.

Could you add an outdoor space at your workplace? There are a variety of different ways that outdoor space can be incorporated into a workplace or living space, so let’s take a look at a few of the outdoor spaces that DC had the opportunity to design (while we envision soft green grass, imagine warm sunshine, and smell the fresh spring air…).

ORNL Northshore Headquarters

The outdoor space for the ORNL Northshore headquarters was built into the back of the building overlooking the water. A wooden overhang shades employees from the midday sun while allowing them to sit out on the benches and tables as they enjoy their lunch break. The built-in seating gives employees the option to step outside and soak in the sunshine, and even do some work outdoors if they would prefer!

ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces
ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces
ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Northshore Headquarters - Outdoor Workspaces

Vera Bradley Headquarters

Vera Bradley’s headquarters surrounds a beautiful outdoor courtyard for employees and guests. Several tables and chairs line the courtyard underneath a terrace, looking out over neatly kept flower beds and shrubbery. It is a great space for employees to get outside and draw inspiration from natural elements.

Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley
Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley
Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley Outdoor Workplaces - Vera Bradley
SAFE FCU - Outdoor Workspaces

SAFE Federal Credit Union Headquarters

SAFE FCU headquarters also had an outdoor space built into the back of their workplace, but their space happens to be on the second floor! Employees can go outside onto the second-floor deck and do work, take a lunch break, or collaborate with other employees in the fresh air. At night, the area is nicely lit from the overhang above.

SAFE FCU - Outdoor Workspaces
SAFE FCU - Outdoor Workspaces SAFE FCU - Outdoor Workspaces

ORNL Rutgers

ORNL Federal Credit Union’s main corporate office also has a lovely outdoor space as part of their building. A rooftop shelters the seating area from the sun and weather while a decorative screening, surrounded by greenery and climbing plants, provides privacy from those driving by. This area is perfect for enjoying the outdoors while being protected from the elements.

ORNL Rutgers - Outdoor Workspaces
ORNL Rutgers - Outdoor Workspaces
ORNL Rutgers - Outdoor Workspaces ORNL Rutgers - Outdoor Workspaces
Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces

Skyline Tower

Skyline Tower’s outdoor space is actually a green roof, located several stories off the ground! Residents of the building can access Skyline Park, which includes garden areas, sidewalks, and tables and chairs. There is also a special area designated for pets! In the middle of a downtown environment, this green/outdoor space is a haven for residents, guests, and their animal friends.

Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces
Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces Skyline Tower - Outdoor Workspaces

There are many reasons for having an outdoor space at your workplace, such as reducing stress, attracting great talent, sustainability, and most importantly, happy and engaged employees (according to Foodee’s article: Why Your Office Should Have an Outdoor Space). But the biggest sign that it’s a good thing? The smiles on your employees’ faces. We aim to design workspaces that make people the happiest and best they can be, and we know you aim to do that too. So, check out what it would be like to add an outdoor space to your workplace and open up more opportunities for success!

Interested in learning more about this topic? Get in touch with our Workplace Market Leader, Lauren Elliott.

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