It's the middle of the workday, and you're stuck inside. The sunlight streaming through the window looks so much more inviting than the harsh fluorescent light fixtures overhead. If you could just take your laptop outside, you'd be so much more productive, right? These nine companies agree, which is why they've built some particularly cool outdoor workspaces into their offices.
New York City
Everyone knows what the Empire State Building looks like. Are you familiar with the view from the Empire State Building? Shutterstock employees certainly are. In 2014, the stock photography provider moved into an 85,000-square-foot office in one of the world's most famous skyscrapers, and made sure to include a rooftop terrace.
Microsoft's most unique meeting spaces are nestled among the fir trees at its headquarters in Washington. Two treehouses and the "Crow's Nest" offer employees Wi-Fi, power outlets, and a quiet, mini escape from the usual trappings of a corporate office.
This mobile app development company's office is one of Inc.'s "10 Most Beautiful Offices of 2018" for a reason: It's a 1920s mansion converted into luxurious workspace. The outdoor space might be just as impressive as its indoor facilities. Forget the sprawling front lawn--there's a refreshing swimming pool out back for breaks.
Amazon's spheres--which opened in January--are home to treehouse meeting rooms (Amazon's attempt at one-upping Microsoft?), waterfalls, and more than 40,000 plants that thrive in cool temperatures. Why? An Amazon spokesperson responded to that question with a National Geographic article on "nature-deficit disorder" stating that the more you lose your connection to nature, the less alive you feel.
New York City
Perhaps it's not surprising that the company with nap pods built into its office also has a nice rooftop patio. The manicured lawn and accompanying lawn chairs fit the mattress startup's rest-focused ethos. A snack supply is stationed nearby. And a partial roof cover provides shade--a surprisingly overlooked element of many outdoor workspaces, and useful during Manhattan's hot summers.
Menlo Park, California
It's been three years since Facebook opened its Frank Gehry-designed MPK 20 building. Arguably, it's still the gold standard for outdoor workspaces. What other office has a nine-acre rooftop garden with whiteboards, Wi-Fi, and a half-mile walking loop? The greenery reportedly helps insulate the building, lessening heating and cooling costs.
Brooklyn, New York
Etsy may sell handmade and vintage items, but its rooftop garden feels pretty modern--from the soft yellow lights that emanate from bench undersides to the sleek-looking bar. The office, which opened last year, gives employees a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Mountain View, California
The Googleplex has a little bit of everything outside: manicured lawns, hanging chairs, art installations, patio furniture, the famed Google bicycles, a T. rex skeleton named Stan, and a large outdoor chess set reminiscent of Harry Potter. The Mountain View campus, which the company opened in 2004 and added to in 2015, is well known at this point. That doesn't mean it's not still one of the coolest outdoor workspaces around.
L.L. Bean is headquartered in Freeport, Maine--but you could have found its pop-up co-working office traveling through parks across the country all summer. The company launched the free-to-reserve space--which came with Wi-Fi and power outlets--after a company-sponsored survey found that 82 percent of indoor workers support the concept of an outdoor workspace. Upset you missed it? Petition L.L. Bean to do it again in 2019.