Meeting in the free popup workspace during a jazz performance. Photo by Tracy Certo.

You’ve seen the massive expansion of outdoor dining options due to the pandemic.

Now, get ready for the outdoor office.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) has created three separate outdoor office spaces at the Allegheny Overlook Pop-up Park which is located Downtown on a section of Fort Duquesne Boulevard along the Allegheny River.

They can be rented for free and can be reserved for groups of up to 12 people.

Outdoor workspace at Allegheny Overlook Pop-up Park. Photo courtesy of the PDP.

Downtown still isn’t back to normal after the pandemic.

“I think we’re still under 20% (of total office capacity) and we’re hearing a lot of companies are coming back in August and September and as we get into the fall,” says Jack Dougherty, director of special events for the PDP.

Each workspace is designed by Workscape, a local, woman-owned furniture company celebrating its 25th year in business, featuring stylish, minimalist Knoll furniture. The spaces feature greenery-coated dividers and pergolas that provide protection from the sun and rain.

The spaces have varying personalities. The “Saarinen” and “Florence” areas are set up with two traditional tables for collaborative work. The “Bertoia” is designed as a more creative space, with individual Spark chairs for seven and Maya Lin Stone-style tables.

Workspaces at Allegheny Overlook Pop-up Park. Photo courtesy of PDP.

The spaces can be booked for free through the PDP’s website, Monday through Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Booking early is highly recommended.

The Allegheny Overlook Pop-up Park has brought life to a corner of Downtown that was originally designed just for cars.

“We have a full stage that is programmed nearly every day — usually lunchtime concerts as well as evening programs and concerts,” says Dougherty. “As well as a bar that is open seven days a week, and food purveyors that also are open seven days a week. So there’s something going on pretty much every day … through 8 or 9 p.m.

“Now this is the way to kind of cater specifically to the Downtown workforce, which is a population that has been dearly missed over the past 15 months now.”

So far, the outdoor workspaces have gotten a strong response on social media, notes Dougherty, and reservations are starting to fill up for the next few weeks.

“This is an interesting, unique way to ease back into that in-person work setting, in a fun, engaging space that has a great view,” he says.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.