We spend a third of our day, at least, in offices that aren't always conducive to productivity and mental health--some are even actively hurting us. At a basic level, being outside, surrounded by nature, is good for us; even just having some plants around can improve morale and, in turn, productivity. Studies have also shown that natural light can help elevate productivity. So why not combine them? Here are six offices that blur the divide between the indoors and outdoors, making a day at work feel like a walk in the park (well, almost).
1. Office in the Woods
This cabin-like office houses Invisible Studio, a British architecture studio. Around 600 square feet, the office is located in a remote forest near Bath, west of London. It's made of untreated wood from the surrounding forest, including the elevated pathway which leads to the entrance.
2. Glass Subway
Looking almost like a glass-fronted long subway car, this office was built by and for the Spanish architecture firm Selgas Cano. Located in Madrid, the major innovation (besides the fact that the ceiling and one side of the building are exposed glass) is that the entire structure is half-sunk into the earth, giving it excellent insulation in the hot summers. It's almost like working in a cave!
3. Micro Pod
Pod Space, located in the U.K., creates a variety of different small enclosed buildings. These range from tiny (just over 50 square feet) to as large as a smallish apartment. They serve a variety of uses, from a spare bedroom to an office, and also range wildly in price--but the tiniest one, the Micro Pod, is a nice little minimalist cube, and full installation costs less than $20,000. Okay, so it's still pricey.
4. Rounded SpaceCube
The Office Pod appears to be a concept, or at least not widely available to you and me, but it's got a great, toy-like design: a cube with rounded edges and extendable wood slats to cover the two sides that are made of glass. It's small, barely big enough for a desk and some shelves, but really, that's all you want from a garden office-cube.
5. A Woodsy Hospital
Lest you think it's only tiny private offices that can benefit from being out in the woods, take a look at the Groot Klimmendaal in the Netherlands. It's an entire hospital--a gorgeous bronzed aluminum and glass hospital--located out in a rural stretch of eastern Holland. The theory behind the hospital is that being out in nature can actually assist with the healing process.
6. Eyeball Office
The G-Pod, created by British gardening specialists Ornate Garden, is a sphere. Crafted of aluminum, stainless steel, and treated wood, the structures are available in a variety of sizes and purposes. The spherical shape not only looks cool but can also be rotated to protect people inside from the sun.