It’s not unusual for office workers to feel totally stifled by their environment. You see, locking ourselves up indoors for what makes up most of our day is not at all natural, nor is it healthy – the experts have a term for it “nature deficit disorder.” In many cases, it can result in a general unhappiness at work or even more seriously as anxiety or depression. This is bad news for employers as well as employees because when your staff is unhappy, stressed, anxious or depressed, they are not at their best; they are not as productive as they could be and they are more likely to leave for pastures new or at least take more sick days than would be ideal.
The good news is that it is possible to counteract the effects of being cooped up in a cubicle all day long. All you have to do is let your employees spend more time outdoors surrounded by nature., This will stimulate their reward neurons, boost their creativity and ensure that they are as calm, happy and productive as they can possibly be. This will hugely benefit your business because a happy employee really is a good employee.
Sold on the idea? Here are a few ways you can implement it by giving your employees more access to nature:
Take Meetings Outdoors
One of the easiest ways to give your employees more access to nature on a day to day basis is by taking meetings out of the boardroom and into the great outdoors. By taking meetings in your building’s courtyard or the local park, for example, not only are you increasing access to nature and fresh air, but you are taking your employees out of familiar surroundings. Doing that can really help to get the mental juices flowing, so you should not be surprised to see a few more creative ideas being pitched than usual. Outdoor meeting are literally a breath of fresh air for most. Just make sure you give your employees warning so that they can dress accordingly for the weather.
Create an Outdoor Eating Area
Eating at one’s desk in the same office where one works is a sure-fire way to get cabin fever and end up feeling stressed and depressed. Ensure that it doesn’t happen to your or your employees by creating an al fresco dining area for your employees. If you have the space, buy a few picnic tables and parasols, along with a few bins and turn your outdoor space into a designated lunch area. Then, encourage people to actually use their lunch breaks to get outside and have some fresh air. If they know you are more than happy for them to leave their desks at lunch, they probably will, and it will mean not only happier staff but more productive staff in the afternoons, too.
Depending on where your business is based, this may be more difficult, but if you can incentivize your employees to cycle, or if they’re close by even walk, to work by providing changing rooms and showers, subsidizing the purchase of cycling equipment, etc., then they will get to work feeling refreshed and de-stressed after doing a little exercise. It will also mean that they don’t get annoyed by the stresses of their usual commute, which is always a bonus too.
Give Them More Flexibility
If you give your employees more flexibility by allowing them to work at a local park or a cafe that has outdoor seating, you will encourage them to take their laptops and work outdoors in nature more often. This will boost their creativity and prevent the kind of anxiety and depression that comes from starting at the same four walls every day, and it will boost their productivity as it has been shown that people who are allowed to work remotely tend to be more efficient too. That’s a win-win for you even if you only implement remote working a couple of times a week. The key to its success will be ensuring that your staff do spend their time outdoors!
Bring the Outdoors Indoors
To keep the momentum going when your employees are in the office, it is not a bad idea to bring the outdoors in by adding more windows, plants and flowers to the space. Although it is not quite as beneficial, just being able to see some greenery can have a soothing effect that will make more difference than you might imagine.
Outdoor working might seem revolutionary to some, but its benefits are definitely worth investigating if you want your staff to be happy and your business to boom!