Redefining Outdoor Work Spaces
As we redefine the future of office design, we see more companies encouraging employees to work in spaces where they feel comfortable, creative, and productive. For this reason, we've seen more employees taking their work to more comfortable ancillary environments - and even outdoors!
Landlords and employers are seeing the benefits of providing their employees with functional and furnished outdoor spaces. Green areas are proven to improve employee wellness and positively affect their mental health and happiness.
Whether they're catching up on emails or taking a break to recharge in the sunshine, outdoor spaces give employees a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air. Plus, in a time when many companies are scrambling to hire top talent, amenities like inviting outdoor spaces can be very attractive.
Below are a few key factors to consider when planning your outdoor space:
Consider the overall aesthetic of the interior spaces and the building itself. Your outdoor furniture should relate to the design of the interior spaces it serves. Will this space be intended for working? Collaboration? Relaxation? Entertaining? Answer these questions before moving forward.
With so many unique outdoor brands available today, you'll have more than enough versatile, durable and eye-catching solutions to create multifaceted spaces that complement any design aesthetic.
Choosing the right materials for your outdoor spaces will be crucial to the longevity of your furniture. By understanding the weather conditions in your area and what elements your furniture will be exposed to, the right materials will ensure that your outdoor furniture lasts as long as possible.
For example, heavy materials such as iron are ideal for environments with heavy wind and ensure that your furniture will not be easily moved or lifted by gusts of wind. For those with frequent rainfall, reticulated foam allows water to fall through more quickly and not become trapped inside, thus quickening the drying process.
Moveability and Storage
What's your storage strategy? Where and how will your furniture be stored in the off-season or after work hours? How easily moveable will your pieces be on moving day? Should your furniture need to be moved frequently, you’ll want to consider the weight and stackability needs of each piece. Verify what consolidated dimensions will be so you can determine where products will be stored. Research storage options on-site and be sure you have a solution prior to placing your orders.
There may be pieces you'd like to stay in place, like benches or permanent umbrellas. If so, make sure you choose furniture that can be bolted or secured to the ground.
Care and maintenance
Additionally, ask yourself how much time your team will realistically spend on the upkeep of your outdoor furniture. The answer to that question will determine the amount of care needed should you select outdoor upholstery pieces that will have specific care instructions or products without cushions, made from materials such as plastics, resins, or metals that can be easily wiped down.
Determine who will be caring for your furniture and how often, to ensure that the level of care required will be followed by those responsible. You may also, consider ordering custom furniture covers for those pieces that cannot be moved easily as well.
Seasonality and Lead Times
Like indoor furniture, lead times for outdoor products can be quite varied and longer than most anticipate.
Be prepared for outdoor lead times to be anywhere in the range from 4-6 weeks to 20-25+ weeks depending on the manufacturer and be sure to clarify your needs up front. To avoid major issues, make sure to place your orders far in advance.
Keep in mind that overseas manufacturers can close for months at a time in recognition of holidays, which can extend lead times for production and shipping.
Shade and Decor
Don't forget - a comfortable space includes shaded areas that protect from the sun. Depending on the layout, every environment will have different needs regarding umbrellas, shade sails, and protective shade systems.
With so many options on the market, you won't be at a loss to find the perfect solution.
Don't forget to finish the look! Décor isn't just for the indoors. Complete your outdoor space with additions like planters, trash and recycling receptacles, and accessories like outdoor lights and rugs.
Choose What's Right for You
Just like indoor furniture selection, there are many key points to consider when selecting the right furniture for your outdoor space. With so many options available, it can be an overwhelming process.
However, by adhering to these points above, you’ll create the most successful and thoughtfully designed outdoor space that your employees can enjoy throughout the years.