Every year businesses spend millions of dollars in search of workplace technology to increase the productivity of their workforce. Many of the same companies’ workers spend their workdays driving to work in a car, followed by a day glued to a desk in a building with windows that don’t open while nature’s seasons pass by under-appreciated outside the window. A counter-revolution aiming to increase employee productivity by creating better connections with the natural environment is underway.
Outdoor workspaces offer today’s workforce an alternative to the sterile and cramped cubicle life. Some businesses have gone as far as establishing office workspaces outdoors on their corporate campuses. Time outside allows workers to escape from the trappings of the daily grind and promotes an open and relaxed culture within the boundaries of corporate America. Shared outdoor space helps to foster co-working and collaborative brainstorming as well as improving recruitment, retention, and satisfaction. Most importantly for productivity, access to outdoor spaces allow workers to recharge throughout the day and has a remarkable effect on workforce health outcomes.
Outdoor time, good air quality, thermal comfort, daylight, good acoustics, and local amenities play a crucial role in nurturing a healthy and productive workforce. Improved employee health and productivity yield clearly positive economic results. Access to clean air and sunlight has been proven in over two dozen studies to increase employee performance by up to 10%, curb sleep deprivation and reduce short-term sick leave by 35%.
While employee access to natural spaces can take many forms, what is clear is that providing such access to your firm’s associates is a good start to increasing worker health and productivity.