Fitness program, check. Mental health support, check. Healthy food, check. What’s missing from your employee wellness program?
The great outdoors!
We know it sounds odd, but spending time outside has countless mental and physical health benefits. Not to mention, it’s the perfect way to gather safely while everyone is still adjusting to the post-pandemic workplace.
Spending time in nature has been shown to help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, also known as the “stress hormone.” These effects, especially if combined with movement, are powerful against feelings of anxiety and depression.
Additionally, recent studies have shown increased time outdoors reduces some of the negative effects of aging such as aches and pains, as well as contributing to better sleep.
One of the best benefits of outdoor time is soaking up the sun! Getting a little sunshine each day will increase vitamin D, which is essential for regenerating the immune system to keep employees healthy. It also supports bone growth and can help fight depression.
When it comes to the office, incorporating opportunities for your employees to spend time outside can benefit the company in addition to benefiting individual employees. A little fresh air usually boosts creativity and focus, which can help employees stay motivated and productive.
How do we bring more of the outdoors into the office? Here are a few ideas:
Picnic meetings – Food and sunshine– what more could you ask for? Outdoor meetings keep everyone safely distanced, and a snack never fails to boost morale.
Sunshine breaks – Schedule fresh air into the day. Ensure breaks and lunchtime are long enough to allow for a jaunt around the block and encourage employees to step outside rather than remain at their desk.
Wellness challenges – Foster a little friendly competition amongst the staff with challenges like who can walk the furthest in a day or a nature photo contest.
Bring the outside in – If your office location doesn’t easily allow for walks or picnics, consider investing in an outdoor or hybrid recreation space. Whether you add a patio or install large windows or garage doors, your staff and the office environment will thrive with a little more fresh air!