When we’re outside, especially in nice weather, we tend to feel calmer, more relaxed and at peace with the outside world. The reason is simple: human beings have an innate tendency to connect with nature, and when they do so, they are happier.
This phenomenon is called biophilia, first introduced by Edward Wilson in 1984 and then embraced by the world of architecture in the following decades through biophilic design. The results after 40 years can be seen in many offices: plants are an essential part of environments and perform a function that is both aesthetic and beneficial to health.
However, this is no longer enough. More and more companies are now embracing the dictates of indoor-outdoor living, by bringing nature inside buildings and moving workplaces to terraces and gardens, space permitting. This is a practice that those who work remotely have already been exploiting for some time, in a more or less organised manner.
Some have decided to create lounge areas where they can spend their breaks, while others have set up fully equipped and hyper-connected workstations.
But where does all this interest come from? The answer comes to us through science.
The 5 benefits of working outdoors
- Improves memory and attention
According to a University of Michigan study, memory and attention spans improve by 20% after just one hour of fresh air. This percentage rises even further when combined with low-impact movement, such as a relaxed walk, which is something to remember during the next long phone call that doesn’t require a computer screen in front of you.
- Improves mood
According to a study by the Paris School of Economics, people are happier when they’re in green spaces, rather than indoors or in urban settings. It’s therefore necessary that outdoor company areas are both accessible and designed to be as natural as possible.
- Makes you more energetic
When we feel tired, a breath of fresh air can have more effect than a coffee. This mainly occurs because we can breathe directly outside, instead of through recirculated air. The situation is obviously very different in polluted environments, such as city centres without LTZs or industrial areas.
- Helps the immune system
Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D, which is very important for fighting viruses and infections. It goes without saying, however, that good exposure rules should be followed when working outdoors: apply sunscreen, use sunglasses, avoid the hottest hours and hydrate constantly.
- Maximises collaboration
Open-air lounge spaces can stimulate socialisation even more than indoor areas. They can be used for informal meetings far from the hustle and bustle of open spaces or as lunch break spots where you can spend time chatting with colleagues.
All these benefits, when considered in their totality, give a clear indication of what the real positive benefit of being outdoors is: an improved health of people. An absolutely essential value, without which the right working conditions cannot exist.