Meet in the Woods

2 min read, 1 min watch

Renowned builder Pete Nelson, whom you may have seen on Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters”, has just completed another one of his masterpieces. Built around a Pacific Northwest Douglas fir, the treehouse is designed to grow with the tree. The entrance is adorned with weatherproof benches covered by open-air awnings. A hand-carved double door opens to charred-wood walls and a skylight. No AV, no climate control. Just open-air nature. 

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Care to take a guess of where exactly this treehouse lives?

Although it looks like it came straight from The Shire, this treehouse actually serves as a new kind of meeting and work space for employees at Microsoft. Google has nap pods, Apple has a new spaceship campus, and now Microsoft has tree homes.

Equipped with strong Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, the treehouse is a result of Microsoft listening to employees’ wants—an internal survey revealed that given the opportunity, employees would like to work outside more.

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In addition to acknowledging the wants of their employees, Microsoft created this outdoor space to aid in their effectiveness & happiness. Studies have shown that being in and around nature not only decreases stress and increases productivity, but it also fosters creativity. Nature stimulates the senses in a way that an urban environment just can’t. “Trees and plants secrete aromatic chemicals that impact our cognition, mental state, and even our immunity,” wrote Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, coauthor of Your Brain on Nature.

“The first thing when you walk into the space is that everyone is really quiet. You stop talking and are just present,” said Bret Boulter, who spearheaded the project for Microsoft. “It’s fascinating. People absorb the environment, and it changes the perception of their work and how they can do it.”

What do you think? Would you enjoy connecting with nature while you work? Is it cool or impractical? Let us know!

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