L.L.Bean Launches The First-Ever Outdoor Coworking Space To Encourage People To Spend More Time Outdoors — Even At Work

FREEPORT, Maine — June 19, 2018 — We spend 95 percent of our time inside — nearly half of that related to work. Yet studies show that when we spend time outdoors, we are more productive, more creative and happier. Committed to helping people enjoy the outdoors for more than 100 years, renowned outdoor retailer L.L.Bean has partnered with leading coworking provider, Industrious, to launch an initiative to bring more outdoor time into the workday with the introduction of “Be an Outsider at Work.” The initiative will launch in New York City’s Madison Square Park on Thursday, June 21st with the first-ever outdoor coworking space, complete with individual workspaces, collaborative conference areas, cycling desks and outdoor teambuilding activities — giving new meaning to being “Out of Office.”

A new survey from L.L.Bean found that while most people enjoy the outdoors, many of them rarely take time to work outside. In fact, 87 percent of indoor workers consider themselves someone who enjoys the outdoors but 75 percent of indoor workers rarely or never take time to work outside. That’s why L.L.Bean has partnered with coworking leader Industrious, and leveraged its well-established expertise in design, productivity and the coworking industry to create the first-ever outdoor coworking space that provides an opportunity for people to experience the benefits of working outdoors.

“So many of us love spending time outdoors and appreciate the benefits, yet for many people outdoor time is only spent away from work and on weekends,” said Steve Smith, president and CEO of L.L.Bean. “We hope that the ‘Be an Outsider at Work’ initiative will inspire employees to be creative in finding new ways to incorporate outdoor time in their day. We also hope that by demonstrating the benefits, employers will be supportive of this idea.”

Survey Reveals We Want More Time Outside

To better understand the barriers and benefits to working outdoors, L.L.Bean has partnered with workplace strategy expert Leigh Stringer, author of The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees — and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.

“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?” said Stringer. “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.”

The L.L.Bean 2018 Work and the Outdoors Survey revealed:

  • A majority of those surveyed who work indoors would like to spend more time outside during the workday, yet see their job as their biggest barrier. The survey found that 86 percent of indoor workers would like to spend more time outside during the workday, and 65 percent of survey respondents said their job is the biggest barrier to spending time outdoors.
  • Workers strongly support the idea of outdoor workspace, yet company culture does not always support it. The survey found that 82 percent of indoor workers liked or loved the concept of an outdoor workspace. Only half of respondents say their colleagues and boss would be supportive of working outside, or would not care as long as work is getting done.
  • Workers believe there are tangible benefits to working outside. The top 5 perceived benefits to working outdoors are:
    • Improve their mood (74 percent)
    • Lower their stress level (71 percent)
    • Provide relaxation (69 percent)
    • Promote health and wellness (66 percent)
    • Increased happiness (64 percent)
  • Workers claim they are most likely to do creative and relationship-based work outdoors, and see less potential for work involving technology and equipment. Indoor workers are most likely to do creative work (77 percent), brainstorms (73 percent) or one on one discussions (73 percent) outside, and least likely to do computer-based work (41 percent) or conference calls (32 percent).

“Companies are beginning to realize that the digital transformation is making the workplace more flexible, collaborative, and open than ever before,” said Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious. “People thrive in coworking spaces and we think there is potential for even greater benefits if they work together outside. This is the first time we’re bringing our coworking expertise outdoors, and we’re thrilled to partner with L.L.Bean and take on the challenge of creating this unique workspace.”

How to Be an Outsider at Work

“Be an Outsider at Work” will launch in New York City’s Madison Square Park on Thursday, June 21st and be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., complete with wifi, power and collaborative workspaces, designed by Industrious. Everyone is invited to reserve a free workspace at www.BeAnOutsiderAtWork.com or stop by the park. L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program experts will also be on-site to facilitate a short team-building exercise, which will involve a group problem-solving activity designed to highlight teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.

After New York City, the activation will travel to Boston, MA July 10-12, Philadelphia, July 17-19, and Madison, Wis., July 24-26.

For those that can’t make it to one of L.L.Bean’s outdoor coworking spaces, there are many simple ways to incorporate the outdoors into your workday, such as:

  • Host a Blue Sky Brainstorm: Boost creativity by taking a brainstorm into an outdoor space
  • Share Al Fresco Feedback: Try sharing feedback with colleagues in the fresh air. It’s a naturally de-stressing environment, and walking together in a single direction helps keep the conversation future-focused.
  • Take a Refresh Session: Get outside even just for a break or over lunch. Research shows taking a 5-15 minute walk can rejuvenate you for the tasks ahead and refocus your day.
  • Optimize Outside for Work: Create a dedicated outdoor workspace or a toolkit complete with wifi, anti-glare screens, and shade at home or with your employer
  • Outerviews: Put the view back in interview by hosting them outside. It will reduce participant anxiety, feel like more neutral territory and encourage open dialogue in the open air.

Posted June 19, 2018

Source: L.L.Bean