The benefits of working outdoors

What can improve your health, heighten your productivity, and support your well-being—all while you’re at work? Taking your workspace into the fresh air! Find out how to engineer your ideal workspace in nature and the benefits you can expect to gain.

Basking in the benefits

Many studies have noted the benefits of being, or working, outdoors. For example, a 2021 Swedish study found that outdoor office work appears to support a sense of well-being, recovery, autonomy, enhanced cognition, and better communication, which the study’s authors theorize could play a role in productivity at work.

Building blocks of an outdoor workspace

Be thoughtful about setting up your workstation outdoors. Think about how you’ll shade yourself from sun, what furnishings you’ll need, how you’ll keep your set-up ergonomically sound, how you’ll protect yourself from noise, and how you can get the ideal light for your workspace.

Here are some ideas from Nina Doiron, president and lead designer of iSO Design on how to create your ideal workspace outside.

Wire in

Make sure your Wi-Fi is up to par and that you have electrical outlets nearby—or not, if you prefer to detach yourself from your computer as part of your outdoor working experience.

Warm up

If necessary, invest in a propane heater, lamp, or gas-powered outdoor fireplace—they often create an ambience as well. A small space heater at your feet will heat your entire body.

Bring indoor comforts outside

You could roll your office chair outside for a comfortable seat. But, if you choose to use a regular chair, you’ll want to think about purchasing a lumbar or support cushion.

Build a patio cover

Build or invest in a patio cover. A canvas curtain can provide shelter, help contain heat, or give you privacy. It’s perfect for entertaining after the workday is over as well, says Doiron.

Tune up the fun

Create ambience with lights and music. Choose portable speakers or use headphones.

Keep it organized

You can use a bin or basket with plenty of compartments, to avoid carrying your office outside in your arms every day.

Top 9 ways to bring the outdoors in

  • Create a plant focal wall.
  • Bring a few low-maintenance plants such as mini cacti into your office.
  • Create a rock garden or terrarium.
  • Light outdoorsy scented candles, such as cedar, rose, jasmine, or sea salt.
  • Use a light-therapy box to mimic outdoor light.
  • Set up a small water feature.
  • If you work in a windowless office, hang a painting or picture of the outdoors within view.
  • Press foliage in a book and hang the finished product in clear frames.
  • Use a color scheme of earthy tones, including greens, browns, and tans or the colors of the sea and sky.