Increasing engagement with nature offers an ideal route to enhanced employee satisfaction, alongside opportunities to help the world.
A growing body of research suggests that connecting with nature can have profound effects on your life. Here are just a few of the benefits.
Nature Drives Creativity
Researchers found that just four days in nature increased performance on a creative problem-solving task by 50%.
If you want to use nature to give your imagination a boost, try taking a five minute wildlife spotting break.
Better yet, eat lunch outdoors or have a brainstorming meeting outside to ensure everyone benefits. You could also get a sustainable growing kit for the office kitchen and grow your own salad for lunch.
Nature Reduces Stress
Even something as simple as having plants in the office can help soothe stressed staff.
Take photos of your favourite nature scenes and set them as screensaver on your phone or computer.
And if you feel frazzled, head outside rather than grabbing another coffee. Take a plant to work too: I’m a big fan of rosemary as it smells great and has pretty flowers.
Nature Increases Focus
An urban environment can be full of distractions, but some research suggests that nature can enhance attention restoration.
If you need to solve a tricky problem, go for a walk rather than working all hours: at this time of year, you may get lucky and catch the last of the blackberries. Take breaks to improve your productivity – and health.
Nature Boosts Mood
A staff garden can be a great way to enhance everyone’s health – and growing together can really build a sense of community. If you’re more of a solitary person, keeping a nature diary can provide a mood boost.
Nature Enhances Health
Repeated studies have shown that exposure to nature is good for the body. It gives you an easy route to ‘invisible exercise’ (where you’re so busy having fun that you forget you’re getting fit). Having plants in the office has been shown to reduce sick days and enhance heart health.
You can reduce the CO2 inhaled by employees by 50% by having one plant in the office for every three employees – and cleaner air leads to healthier staff.
Nature exposure has also been linked to reduced inflammation and numerous other benefits.
To get a nature fix at work, try cloud watching – ideally outdoors, on a break, but through a window if you don’t get a chance to feel the air on your skin.
If you have more time, and work close enough to a pond or canal, feed the ducks.
Best of all, add a nature walk to your daily routine. Even noting three things in nature each day has been shown to have benefits: imagine how much benefit a daily 15 minute walk outdoors could have…
With so many advantages, connecting with nature is an obvious way to build your business and have a happier, healthier life. Get outdoors (and bring the outdoors indoors) to reap the rewards…
If you need ideas for ways to connect with nature, along with the latest research into the benefits of nature exposure, buy Go Wild! Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature. I’m donating all August profits to the Wildlife Trusts.