L.L.Bean Launches First-Ever Outdoor Coworking Space

L.L.Bean Launches First-Ever Outdoor Coworking Space

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 21 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.

“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.”

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 five 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)
  • Increase 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 21 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, PA, July 17-19 and Madison, WI, in July 24-26.