Using and maintaining the outdoor areas at your company properly – here's how!
Day in, day out, we step foot on it – and yet we usually pay little attention to it: the outdoor area at the company. It's an area that offers plenty of potential: your outdoor area is not only responsible for the first impression visitors gain of your company, but also contributes to the well-being of your employees.
The big corporations are showing what modern outdoor facilities can look like. Microsoft and Amazon recently installed meeting rooms in tree houses. And Facebook created a large rooftop garden for its employees where they are welcome to work and linger. Of course, big, impressive projects like this are not realistic for most SMEs. But even with a smaller budget, you can still exploit all the potential that your outdoor area has to offer.
This article tells you all about the benefits of a properly used outdoor area, four potential uses for your outdoor space, and which safety aspects you should consider. We also provide you with a checklist that will help you keep your outdoor area properly maintained at every time of year.
Discover the full potential of your outdoor areas.
It lends you company a professional appearance
The exterior is the first thing customers and business partners see when they visit your company. A positive first impression helps boost your image as a professional, trustworthy business partner.
A recreational area for your employees
For your employees to work efficiently, they need creative breaks. A green space outdoors is the ideal place for them to recharge their batteries during the lunch break. Studies have verified that even a brief amount of time spent in nature reduces stress.
An extension of your office space
Have you ever thought about moving meetings outside when the weather is nice? The change in surroundings and fresh air stimulate creativity.
Four ways to get more use out of your outdoor area.
Practical seating areas that your employees can use for eating lunch or for an outdoor meeting are one essential component of your outdoor area. In particular, picnic benches with an integrated table are perfect for this. If you like things a little cosier, you could also put up hammocks or provide deck chairs. This guarantees relaxing breaks.
Being able to look at plants always has a relaxing effect. This is why you shouldn't hold back when planting your outdoor areas with greenery. Lawns, flower beds, hedges, trees and shrubs create a pleasant atmosphere. It is best to choose evergreen, hardy plants so that your outdoor area is a sight to behold at every time of year. You can also add a feature to your green space such as a pond or fountain.
Of course, your outdoor area should not only look good, but also be functional. If you'd also like to work outside, then you're going to need Wi-Fi and sockets. It might even be possible to install a whiteboard. Do many of your employees come to work by bicycle? Then you'll need a bicycle stand or shelter for their bikes. You should also put up plenty of rubbish bins and ashtrays for smokers.
When employees get together, this doesn't always have to be done away from work. The outdoor area is the ideal place for an after-work event that helps your team to bond in a casual atmosphere, and increases their sense of camaraderie. How about a barbecue or games evening? You could also invite your employees' families.
This is how to keep your outdoor area safe and tidy.
Your outdoor area will only really shine and attract employees if it is consistently looked after and maintained. To ensure that you and your employees won't hesitate to use the outdoor area whenever possible, there's a few safety aspects you should consider:
Outdoor facilities are exposed to the elements whether you like it or not. With the help of covered areas, your employees can enjoy the fresh air even in intense sunshine or bad weather. Shelters and refuges can be used as smoking areas, or keep bicycle parking areas out of the wind and rain. Awnings and sun shades provide effective protection for any seating you provide.
To ensure that your employees feel at ease in outdoor areas, make sure you also think about security. High hedges, fences and walls not only provide protection from prying eyes, but also keep unwanted intruders and vandals out. When it comes to snow and black ice in winter, it is really important that there's no risk of your employees slipping over. You'll want to equip yourself with grit, salt spreaders and gritting trucks and grit containers as well.
Only a well-kept outdoor area makes a good impression. That's why you should exercise the same level of care that you do when cleaning the office for outside areas as well. Find out here how to keep your outdoor area clean at all times of year. You might also want to consider some well-placed entrance matting to prevent dirt from being carried indoors from outside.
Even when the days start getting shorter, your employees should still be able to use the outdoor area. That's why good lighting is needed. After all, no-one shouldn't have trouble finding the path, or risk injury in the dark. Solar lights are particularly practical in this case because they do not need a power connection.
The non-smokers among your staff shouldn't be exposed to clouds of cigarette smoke when they spend time in the outdoor area. This is why creating a separate smoking area is the best option. Equip this area with ashtrays. This will ensure that there are no cigarette butts littering your paths and entrance areas.
How to care for your outdoor area properly at every time of year.
Each season brings different challenges for looking after outdoor areas. Our checklist will help keep your outdoor area properly maintained and safe at all times of year.
All year round
- Sweep paths, steps and entrances, and clear any rubbish
- Empty rubbish bins and ashtrays
- Clean floor mats
- Keep signs on the premises clean
- Clear snow
- Grit the paths when conditions are icy
- Trim hedges and trees
- Mow the lawn
- Plant flowers
- Do the weeding
- Get paths looking good using a high pressure cleaner
- Clean the façade
- Sweep up and dispose of leaves
- Remove flowers that will not survive the winter
- Clear rain gutters
- Get paths looking good using a high pressure cleaner
We are available to answer any other questions.