Greenspace as Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Essentialities in the Physical Environment
There is a scarcity of knowledge regarding the potential benefits of human–nature contact within the context of working life. Even more limited is the research that focuses on working outdoors and the setting in which it takes place. This study aimed to obtain insight into key aspects of the physical environment relevant for the experienced benefits and challenges of workers exploring office work outdoors. We conducted interviews with key informants as well as photo registration and mapping of the different green spaces in the environments of six small or medium-sized workplaces. The information gathered was used as background knowledge for exploratory qualitative interviews, which were conducted while walking in natural settings chosen by the interviewees. With a landscape architectural perspective and an inductive approach, we explored employees’ experiences of bringing office work outdoors. The following themes emerged: ‘Simplicity,’ ‘Safeness’, ‘Comfort’, and ‘Contact with Nature’ were experienced as key aspects in relation to the physical environment, whereas ‘Sociality’, ‘Well-being’, and ‘Functioning’ stood out as the main benefits and, ‘Digital dependency’ and ‘Illegitimacy’ as challenges to overcome. Based on the identification of potential benefits and their prerequisites, we propose implications for practice and research that can be useful when focusing on bringing office work outdoors.