Outdoor amenity spaces are an increasingly popular office extension.

The benefits of outdoor exposure for employees are proven, says Jay Longo, principal of Chicago-based architecture firm SCB, designers of that city’s Prudential Plaza, which features an 11,000-square-foot roof deck. “Employees have more active work days moving between different environments, and better collaborate and socialize with their coworkers. This results in creating more robust and trusting professional relationships.

“Many of the spaces we design have a variety of landscaped spaces to allow for small groups or individuals to work,” Longo continues. In cold climates, glassed-in winter gardens can provide the outdoor experience year-round.

At Prudential Plaza, a 4,000-square-foot indoor tenant lounge is the indoor connective area to the roof deck. Longo says, “The indoor common spaces that border on the outdoor areas play an equally important role in the design. Lounges, conference centers, fitness rooms, concierge desks, and food and beverage services help activate these spaces in ways that are no different than how ground-floor plazas or parks function.”

To keep employees productive while they are outside, these rooftop retreats at the office can be appointed with furnishings that offer WiFi connections and charging stations. Manufacturers that offer such furnishings include Landscape Forms, Sixinch, and SolGreen, to name a few.