Spending time in green spaces can have a significant impact on our wellbeing. While studies also support the conclusion that increase employee wellbeing leads to improved productivity. But according to a Mental Health Foundation (MHF) report, the quality of our connectedness with nature has a significant impact on its effectiveness in improving our mental health. So, how does your exterior area ‘shape up’ when it comes to providing high quality access to nature?
Are staff likely to take a stroll outside during a break or do they opt to stay at their desk scrolling on social media?
To help get your teams moving, here’s 5 simple ways to entice people outside and maximise the wellbeing benefit from your exterior landscape.
Let’s get productive.
Bees buzzing and butterflies fluttering around colourful flowers, the scamper of a rabbit across the grass or birdsong in the trees will stimulate the senses and increase connectedness with nature. The sounds and smells produced by installing a few exterior planters or a small patch of wildflower garden can have a significant impact on the outdoor experience. It’s more pleasurable to relax on the bench or take a walk with the sounds of nature as a backdrop.
What’s more, taking a proactive stance on biodiversity as a business will itself have a positive impact on employee wellbeing. Creating wildlife habitats from log piles or installing bat boxes demonstrate your company’s commitment to the biodiversity crisis, helping to foster a feel-good factor amongst staff.
Connecting with nature can prove more of a challenge in urban areas where many businesses are located. Birdsong may well be drowned out by the constant stream of traffic. One inexpensive solution is to pick a section on your property and create a barrier between it and the road. Hedging, trees, purpose made screens or even artificial greenery can create an effective division, drowning out unwanted noise. A quite spot can be conducive to conducting outdoor meetings or for more peaceful relaxation.
Cleanliness is an important factor in creating a positive outdoor experience. A beautiful landscape is easily marred when strewn with crisp packets and tossed tin cans. Litter will, at best, dilute the wellbeing effect, but has the potential to stimulate more negative emotions. A regular litter pick on your exterior grounds will ensure rubbish is minimised.
Whilst you may want to encourage your staff to exercise and be mobile when outside, adding seating will allow people to eat lunch, conduct meetings and linger longer in the fresh air when they can take the weight off. A simple bench can do the trick or to double up on benefits, furniture incorporating plants can add biodiversity as well as functionality.
We all know the importance of taking regular exercise. Pathways around your site can entice your team members into the outdoors, returning to their desks refreshed, calmer and more productive. You could create a site map highlighting walking trails and biodiversity ‘hotspots’. Perhaps even invite staff to participate in a step challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly put employee wellbeing at the top of the agenda for businesses. But, with many companies located in urban locations access to nature can be more challenging. By 2050 its expected that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Given the importance of our connectedness with nature to our wellbeing it’s therefore important for companies to take steps to encourage employees outdoors by providing quality exterior retreats and workspaces. The simple measures highlighted in this blog can help to improve connectedness to nature and in turn positively impact productivity.
For more information on our landscaping services phone us on 0808 100 3120.
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