- Rob Price/Business Insider
- Rooftop parks and gardens are becoming an increasingly popular office perk for urban companies, according to a New York Times report.
- The trend stems from the health benefits provided by exposure to the outdoors.
- Studies have shown contact with nature reduces stress and fatigue and can help combat depression and anxiety.
In recent years, companies have tried to lure potential hires with all kinds of office perks, including beer fridges, arcade games, and ping-pong tables.
But according to a recent report, a new perk is catching on that could not only keep workers happy, but change the way office buildings are designed.
The New York Times’ Jane Margolies reported on Tuesday that developers and owners of urban office buildings are turning their rooftops into park-like spaces where employees can work and relax in an outdoor setting.
The trend stems from increased awareness of the health benefits that come with exposure to the outdoors, The Times reported. Several studies have shown that contact with nature reduces stress and fatigue and can help combat depression and anxiety. Exposure to the sun can make us feel more awake and happy, too.
All that means is affording workers more chances to get outside is becoming a top priority for companies.
“There’s not a developer or forward-thinking building owner today that doesn’t have this top of mind,” Paul J. Amrich, a vice chairman at CBRE, a New York real estate services company, told The Times.
The Times attributed the trend to tech companies like Facebook, whose Bay Area headquarters boasts a nine-acre park on its roof.
In a more urban environment, like New York City, retrofitting outdoor terraces onto existing office buildings isn’t so easy – or cheap. Amrich said landlords can charge tenants 10% to 15% more rent for offices with outdoor areas.
But the benefits may outweigh the costs. In Brooklyn, employees of Kickstarter maintain a rooftop garden that provides the office with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. According to the Times report, United Airlines employees frequently relax and eat lunch in their Houston office’s 12th-floor terrace.
“Access to outdoor space is a critical component of a healthy work environment and a vital part of sustainable development, as well as a major recruitment tool,” Jordan Barowitz, spokesman for the real-estate company the Durst Organization, told the New York Post in 2017.