Every competent business owner thinks carefully about how they treat their employees. If you create a thriving, dynamic environment that your employees love, they’ll always be happy to come to work and they’ll work much more productively. You’ll also see reduced employee turnover and higher morale.
There are many ways to create this type of environment, such as facilitating more team-building events and providing monetary rewards for your best performers. But you can also treat employees better and enable them to enjoy a higher quality of life by encouraging them to spend more time outside – especially during work hours.
How can you do it?
How to Encourage More Outdoor Time
These are some of the best strategies for encouraging more outdoor time for your workers:
- Comfortable outdoor amenities. Start by creating an outdoor environment that is comfortable for your employees. For example, an outdoor fire pit can produce heat and allow your employees to be outside even during winter. Comfortable furniture, in combination with umbrellas or awnings, can make employees feel more relaxed in this environment. If you have a nice patio area, your employees will naturally flock to it.
- Bike/walk to work campaigns. You can also encourage your employees to spend time outside on their way to work. Instead of driving or taking public transportation, they can bike or walk to work, assuming they live close enough. This is also more environmentally sustainable and encourages employees to exercise.
- Outdoor meetings. It’s hard to do certain types of work outside, but you can almost always host meetings outside. Instead of clogging up the indoor meeting rooms, meet outside whenever possible.
- Walking talks. Similarly, if you need to hold a conversation with one of your employees or a client, consider walking and talking. You’ll have the capacity to carry out the same conversation you’d have in person in a meeting room or over the phone, but instead, you’ll have the opportunity to squeeze in some exercise and enjoy fresh air together.
- Accessible outdoor workstations. You want your employees to spend time outside, but obviously, you don’t want them to miss important tasks or willingly sacrifice their productivity to do it. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up some accessible outdoor workstations that your employees can use to maximize their productivity. Make sure your Wi-Fi reaches this area, include plenty of electrical outlets, and set up desks that your employees can reasonably use.
- Recreational activities for employees. You can also start a sports team or other recreational activity group for the employees working for your business. Most of these recreational activities and events are going to take place outside of work hours, but your employees will still be working together in this capacity. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a sports team or planning specific events, even simple plans like outdoor company picnics can be valuable.
- Tips and recommendations. Finally, consider using internal company newsletters and other forms of internal communication to talk to your employees about the benefits of being outside. You can list all the benefits of outdoor time and exercise, then provide a list of recommendations for activities and exercises to try.
The Benefits of Being Outside
Why should you follow these strategies to encourage your employees to spend more time outside?
These are just some of the benefits:
- Fresh air. Even if you have the windows open and air purifiers running, there’s no indoor environment that can beat the quality of outdoor, fresh air. It’s good for your lungs, it can reduce your anxiety, and people generally enjoy it on a subjective level.
- Vitamin D. When our bodies absorb sunlight, we produce vitamin D. This is an essential micronutrient that many of us don’t get enough of – and in ample quantities, it can reduce rates of depression.
- Exercise. While being outside doesn’t necessarily include exercise, many people use their outdoor time as an excuse to participate in physical activities. Even simple exercises like walking can be beneficial.
- A change of scenery. Nobody likes being trapped in the same environment all day, every day. If you give your employees a change of scenery by occasionally permitting them to be outside, they’ll be much happier and more productive.
- Social benefits. Spending time outside with others also carries social benefits. Your team members will have more opportunities to talk to each other and bond with each other, which can lead to more effective collaboration.
There’s no question that allowing your employees to be outside more frequently is good for them and your business overall. With the right combination of strategies, you can maximize productivity while simultaneously improving the lives of your employees.
Interesting Related Article: “How to Improve Your Employees’ Knowledge Bases“