Embracing the World of Outdoor Office Spaces

Furniture Productivity

Did you know? According to studies, humans have adapted to the natural world for 99% of our evolution and have been working indoors for merely the past 300 years.

This explains why, at our core, we all have a biological connection to nature. However, in today’s day and age, an average individual spends 90,000 hours indoors at work over a lifetime, making it difficult to satisfy our unconscious need to connect with the outside world.

But what if we could combine work and nature?

Enter biophilic design.

Biophilic office spaces utilize greenery, sunlight, and other natural components that seek to blur the lines between the great outdoors and the great indoors. Incorporating outdoor spaces within the office has become one of the most popular ways to achieve that, giving employees the health benefits of fresh air and connection to nature while also providing structured areas that support productivity and collaboration.

Additionally, today’s ‘office’ is evolving into a place of social context – more collaborative than ever before. Fewer employees have assigned workstations and a growing number prefer to sit at an outdoor space where they can have impromptu meetings, clean up emails or even bond with their colleagues over yoga.

In other words, a stimulating work environment with an inspiring open-air space has become a new model of the ideal office. Here are the top 3 reasons why:

1. Elevates Productivity

Putting more focus on nature at work isn’t simply a trend; statistics indicate it significantly affects productivity. A recent study showed workers at a call center processed calls 6% – 12% faster when they had the best possible view versus those with no view. Sunlight helps diminish our stress response and stimulates reward neurons in the brain for higher productivity and creativity.

2. Boosts Employee Well-Being

Approximately 73% of employees say that natural light contributes to their job satisfaction. Time spent outside lowers the heart rate, reduces inflammation, and stems the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. What’s more, natural elements have a restorative effect on mental fatigue, helping the brain recuperate after extended focus periods.

3. Promotes Sustainability

Green spaces promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly business image since plants are good for air quality and bees. Make your deck or patio a haven for urban bees by planting many flowering plants. Growing vegetables/fruits is a great idea too! This will not only help everyone eat healthy office lunches, but if you end up growing more than you can eat, you can donate it to a local food bank.

Practical Considerations for Outdoor Office Spaces

Let’s look at some of the work-smart features you’ll want to include in your outdoor area so you and your team can truly make the most of it.

  • Durable furniture material – Choosing the right outdoor furniture involving options made of treated wood, metal or plastic allows them to resist damage commonly caused by the elements like rain and sun damage. You will want to go with a material that lasts and doesn’t require much to keep up. Recycled plastic is a popular choice among our customers as it looks the closest to wood. However, the real benefits are that it does not fade or crack, is impervious to mould, mildew, rot and insects, and doesn’t require maintenance beyond an occasional soap and water cleaning. Plus, it’s recycled, making your organization’s contribution to climate change just a bit smaller!
  • Flexible seating – Provide a variety of seating, benches, and chairs with tables. Lightweight aluminum chairs in bright colours add a modern touch and easily move around. Think versatility. The outdoor space will be most effective if it is flexible. To accomplish this, choose furniture that can be configured for either a group meeting or an individual work environment.
  • Wi-Fi – Ensure that employees can access the internet on their tablets, laptops, or other mobile devices in the outdoor area. By doing so, the outdoor space can serve as a place for a break or a productive break-out session.
  • Electrical outlets – Are there places where employees can plug in their equipment if they work outside? Going back to flexibility, the outdoor space at your office should allow people to work in nature or enjoy the outdoors during their downtime.
  • Privacy – Divide the landscape into different areas by using plants for privacy. This will allow you to separate quiet sitting areas from busy pedestrian walkways and other high-traffic areas of your commercial property. Trellises with climbing plants are other landscape elements that create privacy.

Roof-Top Patio at Office Interiors’ Headquarters

In an effort to promote happiness, health, and productivity, we’ve equipped our outdoor office space with everything our team needs. Wireless internet and power points are available, so our team can get heads-down work done. Teams can collaborate around the patio or enjoy their lunch under the sun.

Take a look at how we’ve designed our roof-top patio with employees’ productivity and safety in mind. 

This sprawling outdoor space offers team members plenty of space for sitting and catching up, replacing indoor watercooler chat. Plus, our building is facing the Bedford Basin, making it the perfect spot to enjoy the refreshing breeze and views during the summer.

Movable bar-height seats offer several options for meetings with various configurations. 

The outdoor cushions are made with polypropylene fabric for their superior UV resistance compared to other fibres which make it one of the best choices of durable outdoor furniture material. It also dries quickly when wet and has no dye sites.

Snapshot of the patio’s inaugural BBQ celebration

The patio is also equipped with a barbecue area – another amenity that allows our team to socialize, network and spend quality time together.

Our Top Picks for Outdoor Office Space Furniture

The key to carving out an outdoor office space where you and your team can get work done is investing in appropriate outdoor furniture – here are some of our top picks to work outside comfortably and efficiently.

Haworth’s Forest outdoor chairs help create collaborative areas. These stools and chairs come in a diverse palette of finishes and a full range of seating options—including side and armchairs and stools of two heights— to accommodate the needs of the setting.

Monarch Linear Dining Table by Benchmark Contract Furniture is quite popular and can be surface mounted for additional security.

Catalina by BUM Commercial Furniture makes for a great modular lounge chair as it allows you to change the space with the times, as advancements in cultures and work styles are constantly shifting. You can make the installation process quicker and make immediate use of the space.

Because most patio chairs don’t have ergonomic features to support long working stints, you should consider some add-ons. A lumbar support pillow provides better back support, and a seat cushion can make even the worst metal chairs feel better than economy-class airline seats.


Lastly, we recommend adjustable patio umbrellas for team members who enjoy extended open-air workdays. Haworth’s JANUS Titan Umbrella provides cool, protective shade, and they’re also easy to put up and fold down, thanks to carefully engineered mechanisms. 

Ready to Add an Impactful Outdoor Space to Your Office?

A move towards working outside seems more relevant today than ever before. The research seems to prove just how much of an impact working outside – or even with a decent view – can have on our work efficiency.

And while the Canadian weather might not be conducive to outdoor working all the time, outdoor office spaces have the potential to significantly increase employee wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity.

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this page, you must either have decided you want to go ahead and furnish an outdoor space for your organization, or you may have questions that we missed addressing on this page.

The good news is that we can help with both! Our team at Office Interiors is always happy to answer any questions you may have and help you bring the outdoors to your office space so your team can perform at its full potential. Contact us today!

Ahona Saha
Marketing Assistant
Office Interiors

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