Picture a 20-degree day: blue sky, calm breeze, the smell of freshly mown grass, the distant cry of birds. A small band of colleagues, tablets and coffee cups at hand, gather in lounge chairs outdoors under a tree for a moment to connect and refocus.
They could be meeting in their team space or a conference room, but they opt for the great outdoors. It’s a delicious day and there’s WiFi & power access on the terrace. That’s the favourite spot when the weather is agreeable and they need to discuss or debrief on a project. It’s a great haven for individuals who need a brain break, too.
Team members think of this terrace as their “outdoor third place”. One of those gathering places, like a coffee shop that serves as a relaxing, welcoming, stimulating alternative to the first place (home) and second place (office).
The idea of having an outdoor breakout space on site is the next stage in a movement to bring the third place into the workplace. The move comes in response to workers’ need for well-equipped on-site retreat spaces that encourage both creative collaboration and focused solo work.
Employees, whether they work in-house or nomadically, want environments that do more than just support their work. They want spaces that inspire and stimulate them.
And few settings do that better than a well-appointed work area on a patio, deck, rooftop or balcony.
Working outside can have its challenges, of course – wind and rain being the most obvious. But while we can’t control the elements, we can manage several factors that make for a great outdoor work experience:
- Reliable internet access
- Plentiful power outlets
- Comfortable, functional furniture
- Sufficient access to shade via pergola, canopy, awning, umbrellas or trees.