5 ways to spend more time outside during the work week
A recent study published in Nature showed that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is good for you.
“…individuals who spent between 1 and 119 mins in nature in the last week were no more likely to report good health or high well-being than those who reported 0 mins. However, individuals who reported spending ≥120 mins in nature last week had consistently higher levels of both health and well-being than those who reported no exposure.” (There was further benefit up to 200-300 minutes per week after which the benefit flattened.)
120 minutes a week is less than 20 minutes per day of outside time. With that and the added benefit of it being good for you in mind, how could you encourage your people to spend more of their workday outside? Here’s some tips from us.
- Walk or Ride to walk
There’s an obvious added benefit here of getting your weekly exercise and movement done as a part of your commuting time instead of on top of it. Taking an active commute will not only get your people outdoors but it will probably lower their BMI, improve their mental health and have them more productive when they arrive at work. It will also save money in vehicle or public transport costs. If people live too far away from the workplace to walk the whole way – create a map of strategic parking spots and public transport options to get some extra distance in on foot.
- Take your lunch break outside
One of the first things we do when talking to people about how long they spend at their workstation is to establish what people do with their break times. It’s tempting for many people to stay at their desk and eat and drink whilst glancing at emails and continuing to work. Ultimately this leads to a loss in productivity as our bodies thrive on changes in environment. Encouraging people to take their breaks outdoors and providing a supportive environment and space for it helps to reset during the day. Keep a supply of picnic equipment handy for people to take with them.
- Walking meetings and conference calls
Not every meeting needs a slide deck or visual material and more often than not these get in the way of what is actually trying to be achieved. Walking meetings are a perfect way to get outside, get the blood flowing and keep on working. Exercising together can also create a bond that leads to better team collaboration down the road. Have a map of nearby walking routes that people can refer to.
- Work outside
Can you repurpose a courtyard, balcony or rooftop space into an area that can be worked from rather than just to take breaks in? This space can be used for collaborative tasks or when people need a few quiet moments to themselves. Encouraging people who are working from home to spend some of their day in an outside environment (if safe and practical to do so) should also be encouraged.
- Challenge your team
Launch a nature challenge with members of your team and encourage them to spend 15 minutes outside every day. Use work-based social platforms such as to report your progress, share pictures and encourage each other. This could be combined with a steps/activity challenge to take advantage of the outside time and further improve the health and wellbeing of your team.
well people can help implement all of the above suggestions. We’d love to have a chat to you about how we could work together. Send Matt an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and we can take it from there.