Ever check in to a hotel in Hawaii or Greece or some other paradise that does not receive an abundance of rain? The ‘open-air’ lobbies you find in certain regions are plucked right out of a dream. All of the services you’d expect from a front desk reception area without the stuffy indoors. Who needs a roof when you have azure skies and plentiful sunshine?
So if these hospitality employees can conduct business outside why can’t I? Being leashed to wires in the 21st century seems silly and unnecessary. Wi-Fi is prevalent, we all own cell phones, and office rents are astronomically high. It might be the perfect time to move the office outside.
I’m serious. Why are you being so negative?! Allow me to quell your fears.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?
I understand that an outdoor office environment will not work in certain places. For example our Jobacle readers in Mobile, Alabama, receive the most rain in the 48 contiguous United States (approx. 67 inches a year). Same goes for our career friends in Ketchikan, AK. But when you consider the country as a whole, it is NOT raining more often than it is raining. And even if there is condensation of atmospheric water vapor falling, are you going to melt if you get wet?
Large umbrellas or tents can protect desks and chairs. And if things get too wet or weather-wacky, you can always move back indoors. We are viewing the outdoor office as a supplemental option – not a replacement.
WHAT ABOUT DISTRACTIONS?
Gosh, are you one of those glass half empty people? Every “lifehacker” on the planet will preach that distractions are the nemesis of productivity; the gateway to procrastination, but I disagree.
I believe that distractions can be beneficial; they can force the worker to put effort into concentration, thus fending off absent-mindedness. There are “good” distractions and “bad” distractions. It all depends what they were, when they occur and with what frequency.
I’d like to think we all have enough control over our minds to block out minor irritants. If you do not, it’s definitely something worth striving for. Perhaps you can start with several office meditation techniques.
WHAT ABOUT MY ROUTINE?
Changing things up can be just what the doctor ordered. Regularly following standardized actions and procedures is boring. And workplace boredom breeds contempt faster than Octomom can crank out eight more kids.
We all rely on automaticity in order to give our brains a respite, but if we’re only using a fraction of the power available in our noggin, it can’t hurt to put a little more thought into what we’re doing. When we are on automatic pilot, it becomes difficult to generate emotion, therefore, how creative can you expect an individual to be?
The George Jetson’s of the world can keep their office indoors and continue to press the button; I’m heading outside.
WHAT ABOUT COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY?
Pocket technologies such as the Peek, iPhone, Kindle and so on have been game changers. We are a society awash in wireless transmissions and digital files. Most information is a click away; interaction is a mere keystroke away.
Waterproof cases, while not a perfect solution, are a dime a dozen. Equipment such as copy machines, fax machines (they still have these?) and refrigerators/microwaves need to be sheltered from certain environments, but would it kill everyone if they had to walk several dozen yards and transition from outside to inside?
I’M STILL NOT CONVINCED
If you’re still thinking this sounds like a lot of work without a lot of benefit, consider the following:
Kiss your headaches goodbye, improve memory and elevate concentration levels (so you can handle those aforementioned distractions!).
It takes several minutes to oxygenate your blood, and sitting stagnate at your roof-covered desk inhaling musty recycled air is certainly not going to do the trick.
In moderation, the sun can help you avoid cancer, allow you to sleep better, relax your tummy, keep you calmer and make you feel more confident? Still not convinced? Read the 14 Ways the Sun Can Save Your Career. (Or listen to the podcast)
Do more people die indoors or outdoors each year? I honestly don’t have the answer but I’m willing to bet it’s the former. I know this sounds extreme, but I really want to work outside!
THE GREAT ESCAPE
If you’re one of those micro-managing, slave-driving boss types, you are going to be concerned that an outdoor office will make it easier for “your people” to “escape” without you noticing. If that’s the case, you need to go back to Management 101.
Still have reservations about moving the office outside? Share your concerns in the comments section below and we’ll see if we can put your worried mind at ease. This indoor office stuff is so overrated.