The pandemic has changed us and our working habits day by day. Trends that were previously confined to particular sectors have started to take hold on a wider scale, accelerating a transformation that has been underway for some time in many parts of the world.
One example is represented by open-air offices, or outdoor workspaces. From New York to Prague more and more companies, hotels and co-working spaces are setting up outdoor workstations and social areas. Social media giant LinkedIn, for example, already opened its first outdoor office in California in 2019, equipped with anti-glare monitors and awnings.
Open-air spaces are a growing demand and represent a competitive factor for many: what makes them so sought after?
As always, the well-being of individuals plays a key role.
Several studies, published by authoritative scientific journals such as Frontiers in Psychology and Science Advances, have shown that natural elements have a positive impact on cognitive performance, especially when approaching complex activities. At the same time, spending even just 10 minutes a day in the open air helps improve sleep quality, creativity and, in general, all-round well-being.
Outdoor workspaces: key elements
Designing an open-air working environment obviously involves different requirements from indoor ones. The main prerequisite is the amount of time people spend in this space: open-air workstations and social spaces are usually only used for a short part of the day.
Secondly, the location must be assessed: what area of the company will be used? The terrace, garden, courtyard or rooftop? This first approach will help to select the most suitable products in terms of weight and size.
Once the location has been decided, what are all the remaining essential elements?
- Wireless technology
Connectivity is essential in any working environment and the outdoors is no exception. The space needs to be equipped with a good wireless network and multiple electrified points for charging laptops, smartphones and tablets.
- Multi-functional furniture in technical materials
Forget desks and task chairs and opt for hybrid furniture like coffee tables, benches and armchairs. The important thing is that they are made of durable technical materials that will prevent any weather-related damage.
- Sun and wind protection
Depending on the location and its climatic characteristics, you can choose between tents, parasols and pergolas. The important thing is to allow everyone, at all times, to be protected from the sun.
- Boundary elements
Just like a real office, an open-plan space must also include a delimitation of functional areas (e.g. between lounge area and workstations). Creativity comes into play here: everything is possible with planters, carpets and dividing screens!
- Relaxation areas
A work café, with comfortable seating and semi-private spaces, is essential in a good open-air office design. A multi-purpose space, perfect for all corporate events!