Multiple studies show the many benefits of being outside (whether simply having lunch or actually working outside) during the workday. From lowered levels of stress, depression and anxiety and heart rates to increased happiness levels, productivity and creativity, the benefits of being outdoors extend from the personal right into performance at work. As an employer, you know that keeping employees is important, and increased morale definitely contributes to a lower turnover rate.
Customers and visitors will also appreciate an attractive outdoor space for your office building. We all prefer to do business with a company that has curb appeal, rather than a shabby one. A shoddy exterior seems to indicate lack of pride in your company, in your work, and potentially inferior service or products. And that is not the image you want to convey about your company!
To get started, here are some components for your patio or courtyard for you to consider.
If you don’t provide some sort of seating, people won’t bother with the space. They’ll think it’s simply a walking area and walk right through. Seating allows people to relax and spend time. Make sure your benches either have a back or are up against something like a building that naturally provides a back. Rockers are a great place to make a phone call, have a business discussion, read a report, or just take a break and unwind.
A patio can be a great space to have a meeting, relax, and enjoy a break or lunch, but not if there are constant disturbances. Consider the following to help create privacy and as a bonus, add beauty.
- Plants – Plants can be used to create a natural fence to your outdoor space. Some will grow more than 10 feet high to give the area a more secluded feel. Evergreens provide foliage and interest year round, and seasonal annuals add that special “pop” of color and interest for a low cost.
- Hardscape Features – Stand-alone walls, seat walls, etc. can be made of stone, wood, brick or combination of various materials to complement your building’s exterior. Adding plants or shrubs on, in and around them help to soften the look, and improve acoustics by absorbing sound.
Plants take a patio from a cold slab to a warm environment. They add color, texture, fragrance and softness.
- During the summer, use drought-tolerant flowers (salvia, lantana, marigolds) to give you seasonal color with less maintenance.
- For cool weather, pansies and mums offer color and cheer. Choose a few perennials with interesting berries for winter appeal.
- Fall is the best time to plant, due to cooler weather and typically generous rainfall while the plant or shrub establishes itself.
You can have a beautiful and alluring patio area, but it would be all in vain if it is unusable. While some people love the sun, most of us prefer the option of shade and it is easier to work in shade rather than bright sunlight. Umbrellas, awnings and pergolas are all great options for providing shade. You do not have to have the whole patio area covered, just some areas.
Water features such as fountains or pondless waterfalls go a long way in setting your patio design apart. We are naturally drawn to water, especially moving water. And who isn’t tempted to throw a few coins in a fountain? The sound of water relaxes your brain, boosting creativity. The soothing sounds mask voices and traffic noises, which also enables relaxation and encourage deeper thinking. Additionally, a water feature creates a visual focal point.
Incorporating landscape lighting greatly improves the safety, security and ambiance of your patio space. Additionally, it will increase the amount of time your employees can make use of the space. Working late on a warm spring evening isn’t so bad if you can go outside for bit to take a break and stretch. When you have lighting, an employee gathering can be held outside as well if the space is large enough.
An attractive outdoor space is not only beneficial to your employees, it is advantageous to you as an employer: happy employees are more productive and absent less. Additionally, an attractive outdoor space increases property values and provides visitors with a favorable impression of your company. It can also be used for client meetings, phone calls or small gatherings.
Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Exposure Landscape Management specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial projects throughout the Greensboro Triad Area (High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Summerfield). We are the premier Greensboro mulch installer. With over 20 years in business, Southern Exposure has the experience and knowledge to create beautiful garden features and flower beds in the landscape. Southern Exposure is the leading landscape management firm in Greensboro, NC. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of design, Southern Lights, (a division of Southern Exposure) has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state in the state of NC and beyond. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone (336.451.4969)