Although a majority of our population resides in urban areas we, as humans, feel an undeniable connection with nature. A study has shown that students who were part of an outdoor education program were found to be more motivated to learn and felt more competent compared to students who were learning in classrooms. A big reason for this is the fact that being outdoors with nature reduces stress and enhances immunity. And the difference in attentiveness and efficiency is experienced not only by students but also by adults whose mental wellbeing at work improves outdoors. Hence, businesses and educational institutions must realize how working and studying outdoors can have a positive impact on employees and students and adopt an outdoor culture by:
Developing outdoor workspaces and classrooms
To embrace the culture of working and studying outdoors, businesses and educational institutions need to construct outdoor workspaces and classrooms that are comfortable for employees and students to operate in. To create such workspaces and classrooms we can set up smart canopies, such as the HALO Connect. An adequate number of chairs and desks can be placed under the smart canopy for students and employees to step outdoors and work comfortably.
Additionally, outdoor meeting pods can be constructed for business meetings, and parent and teacher sessions for students. Employees can weatherproof essential devices such as smartphones and laptops using screen protectors and waterproof skins.
Outdoor classrooms and workspaces can use biophilic design concepts to ensure that students and employees can benefit from their natural surroundings. Studies suggest that working and studying outdoors can improve concentration and enhance creativity among individuals. Increased levels of concentration can help employees and students focus effortlessly on their work or syllabus. Hence, outdoor workspaces and classrooms can help businesses and educational institutions achieve better results than their conventional indoor counterparts.
Integrating essential facilities
While setting up outdoor workspaces and classrooms, businesses and educational institutions must plan for providing essential facilities such as cafeteria, WiFi connectivity, air conditioning, and washrooms. To make the planning process simpler, businesses and educational institutions can begin by planning for water supply first. For this purpose, utilizing rainwater harvesting along with conventional water supply can help provide 24/7 water supply while also ensuring minimal wastage.
A cafeteria can be set up under solar-powered shading systems like HALO W. In such a cafeteria, the solar energy amassed by the solar shading system can be used to power WiFi
routers and laptops while also helping cook food in the cafeteria.
Performing team-building activities
Most workplaces conduct team-building activities to boost the morale of their employees and instill ethics in their work environment. However, these activities are often performed indoors. Instead, physical activities like sports, yoga, and other physical exercises can be conducted in outdoor workplaces as well as educational institutions for team-building and improving the health of employees and students.
Outdoor physical activities can help in addressing nature-deficit disorder. The nature-deficit disorder is experienced by individuals who spend extended periods of time indoors, leading to a wide variety of behavioral problems and disorders such as anxiety, depression, and obesity. Being outdoors can help employees and students avoid nature-deficit disorder and its symptoms.
Designing outdoor spaces for breaks
Businesses and educational institutions can design separate outdoor spaces for breaks. These spaces can include comfortable chairs, tables, and massage seats. Such spaces can also be decorated with plants such as aloe vera, spider plant, lavender, and English ivy to help purify the surrounding air and eliminate airborne mold particles. Such spaces can help reduce stress, enable technology disengagement, and promote mental-wellbeing.
Outdoor spaces for breaks can also be used to celebrate birthdays, business milestones, and to conduct corporate wellness programs. Corporate wellness programs can include outdoor meditation sessions, exercises, and massage sessions to help employees stay physically and mentally healthy.
Outdoor workspaces and classrooms can help create innovative business and learning culture that is more human-centric. By adopting an outdoor working and learning culture, companies and educational institutions can promote mental and physical well being along with better institutional performance and output. The idea is for businesses, schools, and colleges to create a holistic strategy that’s empathetic towards the needs of the individuals associated with them, supports a sustainable future for our environment while at the same time leverages the outdoor arrangement for more aggressive and promising business and academic results.