Improving health by working outdoors is an international trend

A man sitting outdoor in teh forest working on his iPad. This picture illustrates how outdoor office work can look like.

Outdoor Office work for improved health is one of five international growing trends. MDU currently conducts solid research in this area.Photo: Getty Images

The construction and real estate industry must reduce its environmental footprint, and the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is helping to speed up developments in a positive direction. Several international trends also contribute, and doing office work outdoors for better health is one of these trends. MDU currently conducts solid research in this area.

Most people find that nature has a positive effect on them, both physically and mentally. Researchers, architects and property owners alike are progressively taking this on board. Allowing nature to become a natural part of our working lives where indoors and outdoors meet creates better conditions for stress management and mental recovery in today's working life.

Growing trend, nationally and internationally

More people are also discovering the benefits of actually working outdoors for parts of the working day and there is more of an awareness of the advantages of doing this. In Sweden as well as internationally, various types of workplaces are being developed in urban environments, both in existing green areas and through property owners who plan and design environments that support office work outdoors.

Many health benefits - and challenges

Carina Söderlund, who holds a doctorate in Innovation and Design, conducts research on the advantages of an outdoor office through the SOFCO project (Concept for Sustainable Offices of the Future). The project's latest study indicates that even concrete areas with green features can function as outdoor offices. Although there are many health benefits of working outdoors, there are still challenges, according to Carina Söderlund:

“For people to enjoy carrying out parts of their work in the open air, some practical conditions must be solved, such as access to electricity, heating, and protection against sun glare, weather and wind. In addition to that, there is a human need to feel safe in the environment where we are working, to be able to have an overview from the space we are working from and that it is easy to reach.”

Development must take place cross- funtionally

Office work outdoors to improve health is an area that is under development. To succeed all the way, Carina Söderlund also believes that development must take place cross-functionally and together with those who will carry out the actual work in the outdoor environment. In the SOFCO project, for example, research studies are underway together with stakeholders from the industry.

“This means that we can develop a systematic and deliberate development of outdoor office work that responds to different needs, roles and work duties," concludes Carina Söderlund.


Here are the 5 international trends in the construction and real estate industry:

  1. Urban development with a more human viewpoint
  2. Better health through outdoor work
  3. Big data for the right decision
  4. Buildings in support of human activity
  5. Green transition for cyclical sustainability

Five international trends

Carina Söderlund was the expert of outdoor office environment at Drees & Sommer Sweden´s Trend spotting for 2024

Yes, of course I would like to know more about these trends!

Research project SOFCO

MDU conducts research on concepts for the sustainable future of offices.

Yes, I´m curious about the research area

Contact Information