Everyone and their mother has a smartphone these days. We know it from experience, and a 2016 Deloitte consumer survey confirms it: Ownership of mobile devices is “reaching saturation levels” in the United States, with smartphones becoming “indispensable across all demographics and geographies.”

Mobile usage is so widespread that 93 percent of consumers report using their mobile phones at work, the survey said.

The trend that has made mobile technology as vital for many people as food and water has vast societal implications—far too many to consider in a modest blog post. What we’d like to take a brief look at is the freedom mobile tech gives office workers to take their work outside.

Smartphone as work tool

Mobile phones have become “the central communications hub for people’s lives,” the survey said, bringing email, social media, texting, talking and browsing together in one device.

In addition, smartphones are emerging as “command central” for other services and devices in our increasingly interconnected lives. (Temperature rising? Use your phone to turn down the heat or switch on the AC. Want to know how your toddler’s doing? Check the nanny cam.)

Internet-enabled services like these promise to multiply, both at home and at work, giving us more freedom to get things done wherever we are.

When the weather is lovely and outdoor workspaces are ready and waiting, we might very well find ourselves working outside. The open-air retreat is the newest way to meet employees’ need for environments supporting social connection, creative collaboration and individual focus

Wearables get us up and moving 

Smartphones and tablets aren’t the only proliferating mobile devices. Ownership of wearable tech, like smart watches and fitness trackers, is also rising, according to the survey. Access to fitness bands jumped to 17 percent in 2016, up from 10 percent the year before.

This may signal an increased commitment to integrating physical activity into everyday life—a trend that ties in well with the move to make the outdoors part of the workspace.

Outdoors as an extension of the office 

With the expansion of mobile networks, the ubiquity of corporate Wi-Fi and the promise of ever-faster data transmission, workers have more reasons to be nomadi. Sometimes you just need to get away from your desk. Your work effectiveness demands it. You may opt for a quiet, out-of-the-way enclave —or you may follow your biophilic instincts and head outside.

Both options are valid when companies outfit their outdoor environment—just as they do their indoor environment—with comfortable, inspiring work settings.

Breath of fresh air: Untethered from the office, mobile workers can take meetings and coffee breaks anywhere, including a patio space like this, which features the EMU Outdoor Collection.

Come one, come all: The Quicken Loans rooftop deck in downtown Detroit welcomes workers with row upon row of comfortable lounge chairs. These social groupings include EMU Ivy lounge seating, table and pouf

Great escape: This outdoor gathering place is shaded, comfortable and inspirational—a beautiful destination for socializing or brainstorming. It features the EMU Ivy Chair and EMU Ivy Table

Need more outdoor office design ideas? See our Outdoor Work Environments and EMU Collection Pinterest boards.