Investing in sprucing up your outdoor spaces with outdoor furniture and other amenities can go a long way to impact your bottom line.
How Outdoor Spaces Improve Business
The idea that spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on health and wellness isn’t new. Researchers have found that spending time outdoors helps improve happiness and decrease stress, and improves energy and memory while reducing inflammation markers. In 2018, longtime outdoor enthusiast brand LL Bean looked into how to make these benefits more easily accessible, launching its “Be an Outsider at Work” program and reducing the barriers between indoor and outdoor spaces in the workplace.
More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on the concept in a new way. As requirements for social distancing increased, many retailers, restaurants, and other commercial venues looked for ways to leverage their outdoor spaces, and with positive results. In many cases, this effort allowed businesses to continue operating safely and successfully. The City of San Diego saw so much success that its new Spaces as Places program is looking into making temporary outdoor pandemic-response areas a permanent option for businesses. This is all in addition to work-from-home policies that have added more flexibility into the workday, allowing some team members to work from home — or work from nature — without interrupting their productivity.
With all of that in mind, it’s time to give more thought to making sure your facility’s outdoor spaces can work better for you, your employees, and your guests. In this guide, we’ll share how to make the right selections for outdoor furniture and fixtures to help you get more from your outdoor areas.
Choose the Right Outdoor Furniture Seating Options
The most obvious way to gain more usefulness from your outdoor spaces is to add the right types of furniture. Providing your employees and guests a place to sit doesn’t just add comfort to outdoor spaces — it creates the beginnings of a useful outdoor work area where teams can have al fresco meetings, enjoy lunch in the fresh air, or take an occasional phone call. Different types of seating are available to make outdoor areas suitable for both groups and individuals.
Picnic Tables. Adding picnic tables to your outdoor area is an instant opportunity to increase its usability. Traditional wood picnic tables with benches on either side are an easy option to start with, while round or square tables can help make outdoor meetings easier for small groups. ADA-style tables are also available, with thoughtful designs that accommodate wheelchair users and other needs.
Long-lasting plastic, recycled plastic, and steel picnic tables are available in numerous colors that can be tailored to your brand or your facility’s color scheme, and stay cool to the touch even in sunny areas. Robust concrete picnic tables are also available for durability in high-use areas. Depending on the style and the permanent nature of your design, you may opt for your picnic tables to be secured to the ground with appropriate mounts and anchors.
Benches. Benches are available with the same material selection as picnic tables, allowing you to mix-and-match designs throughout your outdoor spaces. Outdoor benches can be fastened to the ground as needed, which can be useful for stability in high-use areas. Ranging from ultra-modern steel benches to park-style wood designs, benches are available with ergonomically designed backs and armrests for comfort, or in backless designs for more informal settings.
Global Industrial offers all of these seating configurations, as well as any accessories you might need. For example, placing picnic tables and benches in areas that are naturally shady is ideal, but not always possible. In those instances, consider adding complementary umbrellas, awnings, and screens in your seating areas for more comfort and usability.
Accent Outdoor Furniture with Planters
Being outdoors in the fresh air is a step in the right direction for health and wellness in the workplace, and this benefit only increases with the addition of plants. Adding greenery, shrubs, and flowers into your outdoor space can increase the curb appeal of retail, hospitality, and corporate areas, while also giving your team a pleasant environment for quick breaks or short meetings.
Using outdoor planters is an easy way to add this type of landscaping. Above-ground planters eliminate the need to dig new planting beds around the property and help corral plant life into specific areas that reduce your overall landscaping needs. Global Industrial offers numerous styles of decorative planters to complement your building’s exterior design. Consider using them as accessories for outdoor gathering spaces, boundaries between neighboring properties, or as wayfinding tools to guide visitors to your main entrance.
Keep Outdoor Seating Clean with Waste Management Solutions
Anywhere people gather, expect there to be a need to manage litter. Adding attractive trash and recycling receptacles makes waste management easier on your facility’s cleaning crew, and prevents your outdoor space from becoming an eyesore. There are three key features to consider when selecting trash cans for your property’s outdoor space:
Material and construction. Plastic, steel, and concrete trash receptacles are all designed to be durable and withstand the elements when used outside. Because of their weight, steel and concrete options are ideal for set-it-and-forget-it installations that won’t require regular relocation. Plastic models are easier to move around as needed but come in fewer design styles. Stylish stainless steel cans are also available, but tend to show wear-and-tear quicker, and may not be suitable for outdoor applications.
Lid options. Depending on the base material and style of trash can you choose, different types of lids are also available. Lidded receptacles help keep odors in and pests out. Domes, rain caps, and flat lids also help keep the rain out of trash receptacles located outdoors. Options for recycling bin lids can allow for multiple openings to divide recyclables. Ashtray and sand tray lids are also available for trash cans that will be used in smoking areas.
Can liners and signage. When selecting trash receptacles for your outdoor spaces, be sure to also add trash can liners to your facility maintenance checklist. Doing so will help ensure that emptying the cans is as easy and clean as possible. Global Industrial offers a variety of trash receptacles and liners, as well as trash and recycling signage. The right combination of waste management accessories will make it easier for visitors to your outdoor areas to locate and use the receptacles appropriately.
Think Outside the Patio with Outdoor Campus Amenities
When your facility is large, such as an educational campus or multi-building corporate complex, your outdoor accessories need to extend beyond entry areas and patios. Drinking fountains and bike racks are great ways to encourage team members, students, and visitors to make the most of your property’s outdoor spaces.
Drinking fountains. Drinking fountains and water bottle fillers are great accessories to have in outdoor lounges or workspaces. They encourage hydration for team members, students, and visitors who spend their time moving from one building to another. Designed for heavy use, outdoor drinking fountains and bottle-filling stations feature durable construction and finishes. Wall-mounted units are available in stainless steel and concrete. Or, choose from a variety of standalone stations that come in a wide range of colors and finishes, from modern geometric designs to antique-style pedestals.
Bike racks. Your drinking fountains will get a lot of use from folks who are biking from one building to another. Your urban or suburban facility can encourage employees and guests to reduce their carbon footprints and increase exercise by biking to and from work — but accommodating their bikes is essential. Make sure employees have a safe and secure place to store their bikes by including bike racks near your entrances.
Single- and double-sided bike racks are available in powder-coated steel for durability against the elements and frequent use. Unique shapes like U’s, waves, and other geometric designs are available and add an artistic element through both their design and color options. To keep up the sustainable theme of biking to work, choose recycled plastic bike racks in a variety of colors. Mountable bike racks can be secured to the ground for safety and stability.
From employee break areas to paths between buildings, ensure your property’s outdoor space is an asset to your organization. Outfitting your property with fixtures and finishes that employees can — and want — to use is easy, with a variety of accessories and options from Global Industrial. Contact Global Industrial today to learn more about the outdoor furniture options available to your facility.
The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional. Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.