The first thing you notice about Factory Forty—a coworking space in Brussels—are the numbers on its website proudly advertising:
70 Desks fully equipped (and all very comfortable)
7 spaces with natural light (straight from the garden
3.73 km from Manneken-Pis (as the crow flies)
4 eggs laid each day (in the chicken coop)
For those who are not native to Belgium, the Manneken-Pis is a small, bronze statue that began as part of a fountain distributing drinking water to the city in the 15th century and became a symbol of pride, rebellion, and Brussels folklore, which is now dressed in a variety of fancy suits 4 times a year.
But the eggs are what catches the attention most about this coworking space. Factory Forty brands itself primarily as a natural, earthy space with a touch of the farm home (brought to you by the family-owned henhouse), comfort (a nap room), and garden. This is one of the growing number of spaces around the world utilizing nature to appeal to potential coworkers.
For years, it’s been a common practice to incorporate plants in the workspace. A study published by the American Psychological Association in 2014 argues that placing plants around the workspace improves workers’ quality of life. As reported by Shiv Malik in The Guardian, the study found that workers are more productive, more likely to engage with their environment, have higher memory retention, are happier, and are all around, better performers.
B. Amsterdam is a space that not only has all the working space you could need, but also offers a rooftop garden, restaurant, henhouse, 2 lounges, a gym, and a cinema. The Farm uses its location in the farmlands of Missouri to boast a similar image to Factory Forty—of a nature-based space focused on growth, health, and happiness.
Hubud is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten coworking spaces rated in the world because it expanded from coworking to also offer a space to colive, colearn, and cogive (through social activism). From its idyllic location in Bali, Hubud’s space is built around nature and into nature, incorporating the beach and palm trees in its design and mission.
All of these spaces promote the idea that it is better to work amidst nature, for health, productivity, and pure pleasure. But they also suggest that work doesn’t have to be an unpleasant chore, but, rather, a source of joy and part of a fun, natural lifestyle.