by Angelo Digangi, a Home Depot sales associate
The key to productivity in the office is stepping outside of it every once and a while. If your employees are stuck inside all day, they will begin to feel burnt out and won’t be able to think as clearly. Building an outdoor patio area where your workers can take a breather will do a lot to increase both office efficiency and morale.
Here are some ideas for making a space where staff can get some fresh air and come back inside with some fresh ideas:
You don’t want to have to dip into the office budget by constantly repairing and replacing furniture. Make sure you select outdoor patio furniture that can withstand the elements. Some good durable wood choices are eucalyptus, teak and cedar. If you get metal furniture, go with aluminum, cast iron, or wrought iron. If you choose iron, make sure it has rust-resistant powder coating.
Outdoor Patio Cushions.
Select outdoor pillows and cushions that have ventilation slits and a high UV rating so that they won’t be damaged by sun and moisture. Keep in mind that outdoor patio cushions can easily get dirty and moldy. To clean them, wipe them off with sponge and water and let them dry for a few days in the sun to make sure there is no moisture left.
You have several different options for the floor of the patio, and each has their pros and cons. Natural stones are aesthetically pleasing and very durable. Unfortunately, they are expensive and can get slick when it is wet or icy.
A simple concrete slab is cheap if you’re happy with the look. Concrete patio blocks come in a wide variety of designs and colors.
Artificial tiles are durable, easy to clean and give a modern look. The downside is that they aren’t cheap and they could begin to look outdated in a few years. They can also get slippery during inclement weather.
A good fragrance to your patio can be very effective in helping your workers relax and feel refreshed when they step outside from the stale air of the office. A great combination of aromas can be achieved by planting moonflowers, dianthus and gardenias.
The Serenity Of Shade.
It will be hard for your workers to relax with the sun beating down on them during the hot summer months. Umbrella and gazebo kits can be found at home improvement stores and won’t set you back too much. You can also get a vertical trellis to grow leafy climbing plants to create shade.
If you have any large trees outside of your office building, you should consider building the patio there. Caladiums and hostas can be planted around your patio in these shady areas. To add to the serene feel, water fountains can give a great sense of space as well as alleviating stressful outside noise such as traffic.
Lighting The Patio For Night-time Events.
Your patio can be more than just a break area for employees during the day. Outdoor lighting can give your area the ability to transform into a great space to hold office parties. Mimic the moon to get a natural feel to your lighting by putting luminaries in trees that shine both up and down as if the tree were being lit up by a full moon. Select energy-efficient bulbs or solar products to benefit the environment and your budget in the long run.
Building an outdoor fireplace can also up the festive feel after the sun goes down. Having a grill is also essential to making the patio an after-work party spot.
What other ideas do you have for creating an outdoor patio for employees to take a break?
Angelo Digangi, a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago area, is a regular Home Depot blog contributor on outdoor decor projects and products. Angelo’s interests range from providing homeowners tips on patio cushions to discussing the latest trends in outdoor patio furniture.