Being an Outsider at Work

If you’ve bought anything from LL Bean recently you might have noticed their “Be An Outsider” campaign, encouraging people to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors.  I’m super excited to be working with L.L.Bean, Industrious (a co-working company), Jack Morton (brand / marketing) and Weber Shandwick (PR) on the next gen of this campaign, “Be An Outsider at Work”!  Research shows that we spend 95% of our waking hours are indoors, and half of those (sometimes more!) are at work.  This campaign is about encouraging all of us to get outdoors more during the workday, not just evenings and weekends.

We’re launching the first ever outdoor co-working space, complete with individual work spaces, collaborative “rooms” and even a bike conference table, all under a gorgeous tree canopy.  Why do this?  Because humans are more productive, more creative, less stressed and happier when we get outside.  It just makes sense.  Being outdoors puts us in touch with the way we spent most of our days until just a few hundred years ago.

be an outsider at work

In a recent L.L.Bean survey of 1,000 American indoor workers, our team found that most respondents feel their job is a strong barrier to getting outdoors during the workday.  Interestingly, many of these barriers are easily overcome – like the need for wifi, power or protection from screen glare.  The more challenging inhibitors to working outdoors include company culture or just plain inertia!  Many respondents said they like the idea of getting out during the workday, but they just get caught up in their work and forget the outside even exists!

L.L.Bean’s pop-up outdoor co-working space just launched in New York City’s Madison Square Garden and the idea is gaining momentum!  Check out what people are saying on USA Today, Forbes, CNBC, Fox News,  ABC and Mind Body Green.  But don’t just take their word for it!  The space will travel to Boston, MA July 10-12, Philadelphia, PA July 17-19, and Madison, WI in July 24-26.  Go to  BeAnOutsiderAtWork and reserve a seat ahead of time and check out it out in person.  You can also find research, outdoor working / team building tips and much much more on the website.

be an outsider at work

If you don’t live in any of those cities, no worries.  Be creative and find a spot that works for you – my favorite outdoor workspace is in the park next to my office and sometimes a spot in my back yard.  If you feel so inclined, take a picture of yourself and/or your team working outdoors (wherever you are) and share it with others on #BeanOutsider.  Let’s spread this movement far and wide!

Photograph of Leigh Stringer

Leigh Stringer is a workplace strategy expert and researcher.  She works for EYP, an architecture and engineering firm and is the author of The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.

Photos courtesy of L.L.Bean