How to Design an Outdoor Relaxation and Inspiration Space for Your Office

A garden office with plants.

Being outdoors has all sorts of benefits for your employees. If you want your employees to be happier, more relaxed, more productive, and more creative, you should give them an opportunity to step outside periodically. 

However, going outside into a parking lot isn’t likely to have the effect you want. You’ll need to make a small investment into your outside space to get the benefits of nature for your employees. 

Here are some tips to help you create an outdoor relaxation and inspiration space to make your office more pleasant and your employees more creative.

Ideas to Help You Design an Outdoor Relaxation and Inspiration Space for Your Office

Construct a Greenhouse

A greenhouse can give a stressed-out employee the opportunity to relax and take in nature regardless of the weather. By equipping the greenhouse with a wall AC unit, you’ll be able to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round. A wall air conditioner can be installed yourself, without the need to hire a professional, if you are capable.

Make sure to put comfortable seating into the greenhouse to encourage employees to hang out and relax. From a design standpoint, you want to use plenty of plants to give the space a lush feel. 

However, you also want to make sure it feels like a space designed for humans. Put plants along the windows and hang them from the roof, but make sure you leave plenty of room for seating in the greenhouse.

Encourage Employee Participation

Allowing your employees to lose themselves in a little gardening project in the midst of the work day can have a cleansing effect on their minds and make them more creative when they return to work. Try building a zen garden and leaving a rake and stones for employees to create designs with. 

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Build a potting station and encourage employees to pot a few plants during their break. Be creative in finding ways to encourage employees to participate in the outdoor space and forget about work for a few minutes.

Work in a Water Feature

Water features encourage employees to stop moving and thinking and just look into the water for a couple of minutes. Water features don’t have to be elaborate to be effective. 

Try a simple pondless fountain so that you can get the beautiful effect and pleasant sound of running water without having to maintain a pond. If you have a retention pond on your office property, installing a water feature will transform it into a relaxing view for employees who are enjoying your outside space.

Make Trails

Your employees will likely get the most benefits from an outside space if they walk around and get a little bit of exercise while they’re outside. Trails will draw your employees out and encourage them to wander through your office gardens. 

Your employees are sure to come back from these walks refreshed and relaxed. Trails also encourage employees to walk and talk together, which can be wonderful for employee bonding. To urge employees to use the trails, try having an office walk as a team-building exercise. 

Encourage Birds and Butterflies

Wildlife can be inspiring. The opportunity to watch birds and butterflies during a break will surely raise the morale in your office. 

Try installing a bird feeder and planting some flowers that are attractive to pollinators. Make sure to plant a variety of flowers so that if caterpillars destroy some kinds, your garden will still look lush and attractive. 

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Be patient. It often takes a few weeks after putting out feeders or planting flowers for birds or butterflies to arrive.

Provide Plenty of Seating

You want employees to feel relaxed in the outdoor area. You’d like it to be an area where they might have lunch or snacks. It’s a good idea to build seating so that employees can sit and eat lunch at a picnic table outside or take a break on a bench. 

Place some seating far enough apart that employees can feel that they have some privacy if they want to enjoy the outside area on their break.

How to Use Your Outdoor Relaxation and Inspiration Space

  • Breaks. Encourage employees to take breaks outside when possible rather than sticking to the break room or staying at their desks.
  • Lunches. Great employee bonding can occur if you encourage your employees to have lunches together in your outside area.
  • Meetings. Holding meetings outside can help everybody to relax and get the ideas flowing more easily. On a nice day, having meetings outside can be very pleasant.
  • Small groups. Do you have a group of employees working together on a project? If it’s a nice day, why not send them outside to discuss the project in a relaxing, inspiring environment? 

Should Employees be Allowed or Encouraged to Work in the Outdoor Space?

If you build a beautiful outside space for your office, it’s very likely that employees will want to work outside some of the time. It’s up to you whether you want to allow working in the outside space. 

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On the one hand, this could be a great way to make employees happier and more comfortable at work. On the other hand, working outside could be a distraction and make it difficult to manage your employees. 

It’s up to you whether you want to allow employees to work outside or whether you want to save the outside space for breaks and meetings.

Build an Outside Area Your Employees will Love

When you’re thinking about how to design your office, you probably think almost exclusively about indoor spaces. However, failing to utilize the outside space around your office is a terrible missed opportunity. 

Being outside can have a wide range of benefits for your office and employees. You may be amazed by how little it costs you to create a beautiful, relaxing outdoor area. 

Whether you want to make a significant investment into your outdoor space, such as building a greenhouse, or you just want to plant a few flowers to attract butterflies and a picnic table to sit at while you enjoy them, any level of investment into a relaxing space outside is sure to have significant benefits for your office.

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