Many of us work indoors for hours every single day, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for embracing our natural surroundings. However, there are lots of benefits we can get from being out in the open air. Here we will examine why working outdoors is a great business decision.
What are the benefits of working outdoors?
Brainstorming and generating ideas is crucial when running and growing a business, and working outdoors has been linked to increased creativity and productivity. Research has also linked spending time in natural surroundings with reduced blood pressure and stress levels, while fresh air may improve our immune function and stave off illnesses.
Trees release compounds (phytoncide) which have antibacterial properties to help plants naturally fight off disease, but they have health boosting effects for us, too. When we breathe this compound in, the number and activity of the white blood cells increases, killing tumors and virus-infected cells. Phytoncides emitted by trees can help our immune system, improve sleep quality, reduce depression, and boost our energy.
This is reflected in the Japanese trend of ‘forest bathing’, which is the simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, spending quality time in nature experiencing the wonderful benefits it has to offer. If, however, you do fancy an actual bath outdoors, this can also be rather relaxing, and in fact some of our treehouses, like the Clowance Estate Treehouse and The Fish Hotel have their very own private outdoor bathtubs.
Getting away from the artificial lighting and desks is also associated with reducing anxiety, making us happier and healthier which helps us work to our fullest potential. Getting natural sunlight also provides our bodies with vitamin D, boosting calcium absorption, which is crucial for bone and dental health.
How have attitudes to working outdoors changed?
People started to work long hours indoors once the industrial revolution took place in the 18th century and although there are now laws limiting the number of working hours, working indoors is still the norm, or at least that was the case under a few months ago.
Now that the majority of us are working from home, employers have become aware that nature can help them get the best out of their employees, allowing them to experiment with ways to bring the outdoors inside. Whether it be from an outdoor studio, or a laptop at the bottom of the garden, the new office normal has changed drastically.
Even prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies have incorporated biophilic design into their offices, which comes from the word ‘biophilia’ meaning “a love of nature”. It aims to eliminate toxic working environments that have little natural light, no windows and no connection to the outside world. For instance, Amazon’s office in Seattle features three domes covering a forest of over 40,000 plants, while the Apple staff office building surrounds a park, orchard, and pond.
How can you bring the outdoors in?
You could bring nature indoors by decorating the office with plants, as benefits include reduced noise and dust levels, and fewer symptoms of depression and fatigue. Plants absorb sound and provide fresh oxygen, removing harmful chemicals and purifying the air. They can reduce stress levels by as much as 50% as individuals feel they are responsible for caring for a plant.
It’s also important to allow natural sunlight into your office space while you could also make use of any garden spaces like patios or balconies for meetings and lunches. Equip these areas with a strong wifi connection and power outlets and, if the weather permits, this could be an opportunity for you to work in the sun.
One quirky solution is to work from a treehouse office, an initiative being championed by major enterprises including Microsoft. In fact, our first office was in a treehouse so we understand exactly what a wonderful outdoor workspace needs.
A treehouse office, or contemporary home studio could be exactly what you need to face the new normal of everyday working life, far from the congestion of the busy office spaces and the hectic commutes. You can view our home offices solutions on our website, or contact us on 01892 750090 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.