A (Free!) Outdoor Co-Working Space Is Coming to Philly Next Week

This is the coolest outdoor workplace initiative we've seen in a while. Here's how you can book a seat at the three-day activation.

Photo courtesy L.L. Bean.

Next week, a number of lucky Philadelphians will have the opportunity to break away from their desks and escape the bone chilling air conditioning that monopolizes way too many offices during this time of year.

L.L. Bean will make its way to Philadelphia, where it will bring in a rolling outdoor office to give Philly workers an “out of office” experience. The outdoor gear and apparel retailer has partnered with Industrious, a co-working chain, to construct the outdoor space at the Navy Yard that will feature everything from individual workspace and collaborative conference areas to cycling desks and wifi.

The space will be open beginning Tuesday, July 17th to Thursday, July 19th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Booking for the space is open now at BeAnOutsiderAtWork.com. The co-working area will be able to accommodate 20 to 25 people at a time, for one-hour windows each.

The company says you’re also welcome to just show up at the Navy Yard during those hours for short team building exercises led by L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Program experts. The exercises will involve “a group problem-solving activity designed to highlight teamwork, communication, and leadership skills,” the company says.

The effort is part of L.L. Bean’s “Be an Outsider at Work” initiative, which wants to get people outdoors during the workday.

A recent survey commissioned by the company found that many people have few opportunities to be outside during the workday, though most respondents reported liking the 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 in a statement.

“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.”

The survey also identified a handful of tangible benefits to working outside, which include improving your mood, lowering stress levels, providing relaxation, promoting health & wellness, and increasing happiness.

Be an Outsider at Work launched in New York City’s Madison Square Park last month and is making a stop in Boston this week before landing in Philadelphia on July 17th. The tour will end in Madison, Wisconsin at the end of the month.

If you can’t make it to L.L. Bean’s outdoor workplace next week, the company is offering the following five pointers to help you “bring the outdoors into your workday”:

  1. Host a Blue Sky Brainstorm: Boost creativity by taking a brainstorm into an outdoor space.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.