Spring is the sweet spot for weather. The air is still crisp from winter, the humidity is lower, and in most places, the flowers are popping. As a workplace or property, create opportunities to engage your employees in the outdoors by adding spaces for them to work or take a break outdoors. It’s important for your employees and your bottom line.
Here’s why you need to get your employees outdoors.
- On average, people spend 90 percent of their time indoors. However many people don’t realize the risks associated with indoor environments, such as indoor air pollution and artificial lighting. Combine that with the fact that people also spend nearly half of their waking hours working, and its a formula for unhealthy living. But you can change that!
- Research has shown that people become more relaxed, their heart rate slows and they become more creative when they connect with an outdoor natural environment. Encourage employees to take workouts outside instead of working out in an indoor gym. At Fitspot, we try to encourage our clients to host their workout classes outdoors, if they have the space available.
- Light stimulates the brain and acts as a cue for the time, and that keeps your circadian rhythm in check. That means more productivity during the day and more peaceful sleep at night. If you can transform an outdoor space into a conference room with added electrical outlets and Wi-Fi, you’ll give employees a new outlet for creativity.
- A 2015 Stanford University study showed that walking in the park helps city dwellers to stop pondering negative thoughts. Tell employees to take a lunch break outdoors. Even if your office is located in a concrete jungle, you can still reap the benefits of fresh air. A change in scenery results in new mental processes and activates different brain functions.
- Tap into the principle of biophilia — the connection humans have to the natural world. Based on the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 15 percent higher level of well-being, are 6 percent more productive and 15 percent more creative overall.
- 57 percent of employees said they spend less than half an hour outside during the workday in a survey by Leigh Stringer (a workplace strategy expert and researcher, LEED AP) of 1,050 indoor employees. This could be because of barriers to technology, organizational culture, or that the job requires indoor work. You can read more about the study in Stringer’s guest blog post for Fitspot.
Here’s some inspiration for your company or property to find ways to bring work outdoors:
- Create a pop-up outdoor working space during fall or spring.
- Encourage walking meetings.
- Start a company community garden.
- Design al fresco conference rooms with benches, stools or other outdoor seating elements.
- Include covered patios with heaters for work in all weather.
- Do “outerviews” (instead of interviews) with new job candidates outdoors.
- Include Wi-Fi throughout the property so employees can access networks while they are outdoors.