Why Your Next Meeting Should Happen Outside

By: Lauren Mineau

Ever go into work on a beautiful summer day and think about how much you’d rather be picnicking outside?

Outdoor retailer L.L.Bean recently launched an outdoor coworking space to foster creativity and productivity all at once. As part of the “Be an Outsider at Work” campaign, the company has designed a space that is both indoors and outdoors, but with all the comforts of a desk and meeting space. The space debuted on June 21 in New York City and will travel to Boston, Philadelphia and Madison, Wisconsin.

Along with the workspace, designed by coworking company Industrious, L.L.Bean released a survey with some findings about opinions on outdoor time, or lack thereof.

Source: L.L.Bean

The new survey from L.L.Bean found that while most of us enjoy the outdoors, we rarely find the time or the place to work outdoors. Eighty-seven percent of indoor workers consider themselves people who enjoy the outdoors, but 75 percent of indoor workers rarely, if ever, take time to work outside.

"As humans, we have a preference to be in and among nature over man-made environments, so why not adopt the notion of working outside?" workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer said in a press release. "Our survey revealed there's a strong desire to spend more time outside during the workday, and our goal with this initiative is to show that there are many different ways to do so — we're turning the workspace inside out." 

While some jobs won’t allow for work to be done outside, especially if expensive or bulky technology is involved, parts of most jobs can be done al fresco.

Respondents noted creative work (77 percent), brainstorms (73 percent) or one-on-one discussions (73 percent) were among the easiest to move outside, and computer-based work (41 percent) or conference calls (32 percent) were more difficult to move outside.

But even if your job doesn’t allow for much to occur away from your desk, there are ways to get some outdoor time during the workday. Get outside on a nice day, even if it’s just for lunch or a quick break. The fresh air and sunshine will help you be refreshed and ready for your next task. Consider taking a walk with a colleague or a direct report if feedback is needed, or if you need to pick their brain on a topic. It’ll likely ensure privacy as well, if needed.