When you’re planning your office space (or simply looking to revamp what you’ve already got), your decisions about furniture usually focus on the obvious: ergonomic chairs, traditional versus standing desks, and welcoming waiting room seating. But your office environment often is not limited to interior space. Many offices have an outdoor area where employees can take breaks and refuel on healthy fresh air and sunlight. If you have a space like this, you need to take time to seriously weigh the best options for outdoor office furniture for the area.
When deciding on tables, think about how you want the space to be used. Will you encourage your employees to have meetings or work outside with laptops on beautiful days? If so, you need larger tables where multiple people can sit together as well as smaller tables where people can work independently. If instead, you envision the space as an outdoor lounge, consider other types of outdoor furniture such as couches and coffee tables instead of full height tables designed for eating and working.
Seating is as important as table surface when planning the use of the outdoor space. If space is just for relaxing on breaks, consider comfort items like Adirondack chairs or gliders. If this will also be a workspace, consider benches, but opt for things with back support. Remember an uncomfortable employee is a less productive employee.
Umbrellas and Shade
Umbrellas and other shade structures (like awnings) provide shelter from both sun and light rain so that your outdoor space is still usable even in harsh conditions. While many of your employees will want a little vitamin D enriching sunlight, keep in mind that some will not (or may have medical conditions or take medications that require they need to stay out of the sun). If you think you might hold meetings outside (which will mandate that people be out there), include at least some shade structures.
This includes all of the stuff that’s there for its use rather than comfort or aesthetics, such as bike racks, trash cans, and smoking stations. When you’re making decisions about these outdoor furniture items, keep your brand and messaging in mind. If you want to be a company that promotes healthy and environmentally conscious decisions, you need to devote space to a bike rack for employees and guests. You should also plan to supplement the traditional garbage can with recycling can, and maybe even compost can if you have that resource available. If you want to be a company that discourages smoking, or if your office is located on a “smoke-free” campus, you should forego the smoking station as it sends a mixed message.
Ready to Organize Your Office? Mark Downs is Here to Help.
If you are ready to design your next office, Mark Downs will be here to guide you through the entire process. If you have questions, give us a call at 410-771-6800 or visit us at our Cockeysville showroom. To see what we are up to and for tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.