Get Ready For The Outdoor Office
For today’s employees, the outdoor office is a breath of fresh air.
Experimentation with office space knows no bounds. While coworking and the open office plan might have sounded crazy a couple decades ago, we’ve since tried everything from home office sharing to coworking on a boat. Another trend is entering the playing field, and it’s growing fast: the outdoor office.
Like a parklet or a restaurant patio, these outdoor offices hope to infuse a practical, utility-driven space with nature and beauty. Outbox is one such attempt. The D.C. area popup work space was produced by the combined efforts of the Peterson Cos. development firm and architecture students of the local Montgomery College. The project hoped to bring life and vibrancy into an otherwise dull office park in Silver Spring, MD. The space isn’t just helpful to workers who want a change of pace; it makes the whole sidewalk more engaging.
Outbox might sound odd, but it fits right in beside projects like the wifi-enabled seats at this local park. Several projects around the city are encouraging office workers to take their work outside. Seats at the Farragut Park workspace can even be reserved in advance, making it the perfect spot for a meeting.
D.C. isn’t the only city that wants to get into outdoor working. With a $300,000 grant from an organization called the Knight Foundation, the city of Long Beach, CA is adding office space to a public park. The project is similar to the D.C. popups, where wifi-enabled chairs will sit side-by-side with public park facilities. What’s unique is that the project is being run by the city government. It’s not just eccentric entrepreneurs and wealthy developers who want to push the office outside. There’s legitimate interest across the board.
For workers, more options can only be a good thing. Independent workers and freelancers will obviously enjoy the benefits of working in a legitimate office setting while taking in the fresh air. As previously mentioned, however, these spaces will also prove valuable for outdoor meetings. Ordinary employees can drop by an outdoor workspace for smaller projects, without having to convince their boss to move the whole team there. In other words, it’s less of a commitment than a coworking space, making it more valuable to the average worker.
At the same time, office designers are racing to come up with different implementations of the concept. According to a report by the Washington Post, designers are giving these new spaces names like “backyard studios” and “garden rooms.”
Whatever you want to call them, there’s a good chance they’ll plan a role in your city’s work culture. So long as the weather is good, outdoor offices provide a casual, drop-in convenience that can’t be beat.