If you work in an office, you probably have experienced nature-deficit disorder, even if you don’t know what to call it. If you ever find yourself staring longingly out your office window at the outside world or feel like the office walls are slowly closing in on you, you may be suffering from nature-deficit disorder.
Health experts define this disorder as feeling anxiety or depression due to a lack of exposure to nature. While it’s not recognized in medical handbooks, it is a very real phenomenon that most people will experience at least once during their lifetimes. When you work full-time in an office, there’s a chance that you may not get outside a lot, and this may be affecting your mental health.
Luckily, many offices are starting to designate outdoor workplaces to combat this disorder. Here are eight reasons why you should have access to an outdoor workspace.
- Employee Happiness
One of the primary reasons why you should consider adopting an outdoor space as part of your office is to make your employees happier. Employees’ job satisfaction is essential for the long-term success of your business. The more content your employees are, the more efficiently your business is running.
With the advent of easily accessible Wi-Fi, creating an outdoor space for your office isn’t hard. Throw up a sunshade to give employees respite from the sun and set out some tables and chairs. It doesn’t have to be fancy to satisfy your employees’ outdoor cravings.
People who work day-in and day-out in the same office may become quickly unenthused. It may not have anything to do with the work; it just may be the monotony of the indoors. Harsh lighting and screen time can wear down employees’ energy. Consider creating a workspace out-of-doors to help them find some of their lost enthusiasm.
Wireless printing makes taking office work outside even more convenient. Employees can design and print their work from anywhere in your office space, as long as they are connected to the printer network. Keep your wireless Brother printers and ink in strategic locations throughout your office so that employees can print from their spot under the sunshade.
- Enhance Employee Collaboration
It’s easy for employees to fall into working only with the employees near their desk, or in their department. At times, employee clusters get stuck in a rut and don’t have many opportunities to break out of it. Creating an outdoor office inspires inter-department collaboration.
When you create an outdoor workspace, you break down the walls that separate employees from one another. If your employees are working in the same outdoor area, they are not cordoned off on different floors or in offices as they are in a physical office building.
For managers looking to build employee morale and improve the company’s work culture, employee collaboration is essential to meeting these goals.
- Lunchtime Vacation
Eating lunch at a desk every day risks decreasing an employee’s productivity as well as the productivity of your business. Employees who never leave their desks are missing out on opportunities to get their blood circulation flowing, which can improve cognitive abilities. Additionally, not taking a proper lunch break can increase an employee’s fatigue.
When you add an outdoor area to your office space, you are also giving your employees a place to gather during their lunch hour, which also promotes collaboration and socialization—two other benefits for your company’s health.
- Business and Fitness
If you are the boss, consider combining aspects of your day-to-day work-life with some fitness. For example, if you work in an area that’s conducive to it, take some of your weekly meetings outside and combine them with walks or bike rides.
The outdoor activity doesn’t have to be strenuous. A stroll to the local coffee shop while discussing this month’s bottom line is enough to enliven most employees’ spirits.
Maybe you live close enough to the center of town to encourage your employees to walk to resupply ink cartridges or pick up those newly printed brochures.
Just be sure to ask your employees if they would find this as attractive as you do before you introduce the walk-and-talk meeting agenda. Some may have health issues that make this sort of activity challenging, but they could still benefit from having a meeting outside.
A lot of companies are placing more value on eco-consciousness. Green offices are coming to the forefront of modern office design with green walls made of plants, outdoor areas designed as bee habitats, and windows to maximize natural light.
An outdoor office area emphasizes the importance of nature in our modern lives and gives your employees a chance to commune with nature as they work—a win-win situation.
If you have access to electrical outlets in your outdoor area, you can even designate an HP printer for your out-of-doors office. Combine this with wireless printing capabilities, so employees don’t have to leave their spot until they’re ready.
- Information Age vs. Industrial Age Practices
According to some sources, we’re stuck in the Dark Ages of the Industrial Age. Peter Thomson of the Future Work Forum in the U.K. posits that our managerial practices have been in place since the surge of business in the Industrial Age and aren’t evolving to suit our modern needs.
We are no longer in the Industrial Age. Instead, we are now fully immersed in the Information Age, which means employers are finding new ways to help employees feel satisfied and balanced in their work. One of the ways gaining the most traction is the addition of outdoor office space.
- Stress Reduction
Communing in nature has direct effects on your health and well-being. Harvard researchers have found that feelings of stress and displeasure are acutely diminished after spending some time out-of-doors. Specifically, being in nature reduces our cortisol levels and stress levels and lowers our heart rates and blood pressure.
Many employers encourage employees to take time to exercise, which is also helpful for stress reduction. Creating an outdoor office space supports your employees’ work while they’re enjoying the benefits of being in nature.
- Talent Retention
Millennials, in particular, are responsive to workplaces that are inspiring and employee-centric. And it’s not just millennials. Most people in the workforce today appreciate any move that encourages more balance in their overworked lives.
By building an outdoor office, you are relaying to your employees that their health and wellness come first. This also means you will see increased employee retention. If your employees are happy, they will work more effectively, building a better company.
The workplace is changing dramatically in the Information Age, and savvy business owners have to do everything in their power to keep up. One of the best things you can do for your employees’ well-being and health is to create an outdoor office space as an alternative workplace. It reduces stress, helps retain talented employees, and promotes collaboration and sociability.
Everything else is going green. It’s time for your office space to go green, too.
Guest post courtesy of Tania, Head of Services for InkJetSuperStore