Spending time outside has major benefits when it comes to both physical and mental health. Since working from home, and attending events from home, is likely to be the norm far into the foreseeable future, increased flexibility means many of us are able to get outside more regularly during the week. But how many of us actually are?
Not only do natural light and fresh air tend to brighten people’s moods and relieve stress, sunlight is also important for getting your daily dose of vitamin D, which helps the body prevent disease. Time outside also increases concentration, creativity, and energy—things we could all use a little extra help with right now.
Those who live in cities might need a little help finding ways to get out of their (usually smaller) homes. Companies can support their employee’s and attendee’s wellbeing by providing opportunities that encourage them to get outside. You can incorporate these strategies at your next hosted event or just as part of staying connected with your team!
Take a look at your daily routine and see if there are any existing opportunities. Does that standing team meeting need to be a video call? Or can you switch it up by encouraging your team to call in from outside or while walking around their neighborhoods? For brainstorming sessions, you might find that your team arrives at more innovative solutions. If you’re concerned about capturing the conversation, consider recruiting the help of a professional visual or written notetaker. They can focus on documenting the ideas so your team can focus on developing them!
Virtual group fitness classes have become a popular way to help groups connect outside the context of work and stay active. There are options at any intensity that can be joined from the backyard or nearby park and don’t call for any extra equipment, like HIIT workouts, yoga, or even guided meditation walks.
A trend we’re seeing with many of our clients is the desire to include families in group activities. We worked with a client to create an at-home, family-friendly picnic kit. Each team member was sent a care package with a branded blanket and tumblers, a charcuterie board kit, and wine for the adults. Also in the box was a branded bluetooth speaker to pair with the entertainment for the evening—a private livestream concert from a celebrity country musician! This idea doubles as a way for attendees to get outside and to show support for the family members who have gone through this stressful time together.
Some activities, like a family picnic, will have specific times of the day where they make the most sense. Getting intentional about when you schedule these activities can help them achieve their goals. A walk first thing in the morning provides mental structure to the day that gives time to mentally prepare. It also gets the blood flowing, waking up the brain and body! An outdoor break in the middle of the day serves as a powerful reset button to raise energy levels for the remainder of the afternoon. It also fits in with the daily rhythm of breaking for lunch—just make sure you’re still leaving time to eat. Ending the day outside serves as a clear mental signal that it’s time to shift out of work mode. It allows space for everyone to go at their own pace, taking as much time as they like, and it’s more likely that family members will be free to join in!
Like with any good habit, your team is more likely to stick to it when they practice it together. If a larger organizational effort isn’t in the cards, you can still stake your claim in the great outdoors by just asking one coworker if they’d be interested in heading out on a walk for your next call! Any amount of time outside is worth going after this summer.