Giving employees opportunities to untether from technology and take healthy breaks outdoors is smart business. We all know how a breath of fresh air feels when we feel bogged down by work. Likewise, the outdoors can deliver an energy boost—and so much more, according to many studies that point to the benefits of landscaped areas for employees.
A Texas A&M study showed that unplugging from an office and connecting outside can improve our relationships with others, whether at home or the office. In addition, outdoor spaces at work can reduce stress, build teams, increase employees’ physical activity (reducing illness), and foster better social interactions.
Meanwhile, providing landscaped areas on your commercial property for employees to get work done is just as helpful. A change of scenery can spark creativity, improve mood and encourage collaboration.
Giving employees a destination to work and play can ultimately improve your business. So, what type of outdoor spaces should you consider for your commercial property to gain all of these benefits? Here are some landscaping projects, along with considerations for creating productive landscape features.
Practical Considerations For Outdoor Employee Spaces
Before we entice you with the project possibilities for your commercial landscape, let’s touch on some of the work-smart features you’ll want to include so employees can truly use the outdoor space.
- Flexible seating. Provide a variety of seating, benches, and chairs with tables. Lightweight aluminum chairs in bright colors add a modern touch and are easy to move around. Think versatility. You’ll make the most of an outdoor space when the area is flexible. You can accomplish this by selecting furniture that can configure into a group meeting or individual work environment.
- Wi-Fi. Be sure that Internet connectivity is available in the outdoor space and easy for employees to access on their tablets, laptops, or other mobile devices. This way, the outdoor space can double as a place to take a break or conduct a productive breakout session.
- Electrical outlets. Are there electrical receptacles so employees can plug in if they take their work outdoors? Back to flexibility, the outdoor spaces at your office should offer opportunities to work in nature or simply escape and enjoy the surroundings.
- Privacy. Create different rooms in the landscape by using plants for privacy. That way, you can block off quiet sitting areas from busy pedestrian walkways and other high-traffic areas of your commercial property. Other landscape elements that work well to create privacy include trellises with climbing plants. These evergreens provide year-round screening, hardscape retaining walls, or free-standing walls made from wood, metals, or stone.
Four Landscaping Ideas That Encourage Employees to Get Out!
Patios give employees a place to dine outside and walking trails that offer an exercise opportunity on site. Rooftop gardens promote healthy eating, and water features create a tranquil environment. There are many innovative ways to enhance the workplace by improving your commercial property’s landscape. Here are some ideas.
- Rooftop or Balcony Garden: Look above ground for ways to create outdoor experiences for employees. If your commercial property includes a balcony or rooftop, it can be retrofitted into a garden space. Give your employees a way to eat fresh and local right on your property by growing herbs or vegetables. Or, plant flowers and grasses and create a space that attracts butterflies, birds, and pollinators.
- Patio Gathering Space: A hardscaped patio area with privacy screening and flexible seating will entice employees to go outside for lunch. And this is a good thing! Because going outdoors can spark creativity and improve productivity once they return to their desks. Think about the location of the patio. Will you position it, so the space is adjacent to an indoor cafeteria? Or, do you want to create a more secluded space connected to your office with a walkway? The first offers convenience, while a separated patio area gives employees a getaway on site.
- Walking Trails: A walking trail that winds throughout your commercial property provides an exercise option right on campus. Employees can take a relaxing stroll or jog and release some endorphins. Along the trail, consider creating places to pause, like bench seating or natural stones that act like stools. You can even incorporate activity stations. Also, a nature trail on your corporate office campus can serve as a place to hold community benefit walks.
- 4 Outdoor Grilling Station: At one office park, we created an outdoor grilling station by the café so the staff could hold cooking demonstrations. This interactive element created a platform for creative events. The outdoor kitchen is a focal point of the patio space and gives the company a place to host company lunches and more.
Landscape Enhancements Improve The Employee Experience
We know that hiring quality, talented workers is not easy. And retaining valued employees is a priority for businesses that recognize that people are their greatest asset. Companies gain a competitive advantage when offering outdoor spaces where employees can recharge, reflect, convene and create.
Let’s talk more about ways you can improve your outdoor space with productive upgrades like lighting, privacy screening, and furniture. Or, ask about a site assessment to identify landscape enhancements that will improve the culture at your workplace.
Last modified: September 2, 2021