Why your boss should let you take your work outside
For many office workers, the bulk of a 9-5 workday is spent sitting at a desk or in a meeting room. A sedentary routine can, not only lead to a variety of negative future health consequences like chronic disease, but it can also impact your productivity and happiness today.
Fortunately, you can combat the negative side effects of a sedentary, indoor workweek by simply heading outside: A boost of green time is scientifically proven to lower your blood pressure and stress, improve your short-term memory and increase your creativity – and more! It’s time to make a case to your boss that thinking outside the box, means taking your work outside. Here are three ways to make the great outdoors work for your work:
1. CONVERT YOUR SITTING MEETINGS TO STANDING AND WALKING MEETINGS
Consider taking those off-the-cuff discussions and sit-down meetings with colleagues outside. By taking a walking meeting in the fresh air and sunlight, you’ll be more effective in discussing important work items. Moving promotes increased blood flow to the brain, resulting in increased creativity and productivity. That makes for better ideas – and arriving at these solutions more quickly.
2. INCORPORATE SOME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO YOUR OUTDOOR WORKING SESSION
Up the ante and consider planning a fun sport-themed meeting or discussion to mix in some team-building. We know it sounds silly, but it can be a great way to brainstorm without colleagues speaking over one another. Bring a ball or a frisbee with you and make that item the “speaker’s staff”. Whoever is holding the ball or frisbee has freedom to speak, and once they are done, they toss it to a fellow employee. You can even make the game of catch more strategic and pick who should speak next. This is a fun way to make a typically sedentary meeting into a more active one.
3. UPGRADE YOUR OFFICE SPACE
Today’s technologies, including the screens that can be a barrier to us being active, also make it easier than ever before for us to take our work on-the-go. Pick-up what you need (you’ll squeeze in some movement headed to your new location) and set down those roots in greener pastures. Try taking your emails outside with you for the morning or afternoon. Consider creating a hotspot using your smartphone or, these days, you can even find a park with accessible Wi-Fi.
It’s time to rethink the “I need to be at my desk to do good work” attitude. The old school of thought said that those sitting at their desks, morning and night, were the hardest workers. We now know, and the evidence supports, that this thinking is flawed. Working SMART means taking regular breaks and a 17 minute break every 52 minutes of seated work is recommended for optimal creativity, productivity and focus. If none of the suggested tactics work for you on a given day, simply give yourself regular active breaks in the outdoors to recharge. Your body – and mind – will thank you.