Wise leaders strive to keep their employees happy because happy employees are more productive and satisfied with their careers. Research shows that spending more time outdoors can help promote our happiness, wellness, and cognitive function. 

Encouraging your staff to spend more time outside could have a significant impact on their performance and overall wellbeing. In this guide, we’ll review these effects and offer tips on how to get your team to spend more time in nature. 

Why Getting Outside Is Good for You

Being in nature has a profound impact on our emotions. It helps reduce anxiety and stress, which frees our minds to think creatively and make connections with other people. Here are some of the wellness benefits of going outside every day: 

  • Relieves stress: There’s something about nature that makes people feel calm and relaxed. Studies show that visiting natural environments can significantly reduce physical and psychological stress. Nature’s soothing effects can help us manage the stress of daily life. 
  • Fosters positivity: Decreased stress certainly helps promote happiness, but being outdoors also helps foster positivity in other ways. People who take walks in nature can have fewer negative thoughts, feel less anxiety, and experience more positive emotions. Scenic strolls also stimulate certain parts of the brain to help reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety. 
  • Boosts creativity: In the fast-paced society we live in, it feels like our attention is constantly being pulled in 100 different directions. Being bombarded with a constant stream of media and information can lead to burnout and mental fatigue. Spending time outdoors helps clear our minds and recharge our attention circuits so we have the mental capacity to be more creative and solve problems. 
  • Encourages kindness: Watching the sunrise or looking out over the edge of a cliff at the vast forest below creates a sense of awe that can have a profound impact on our emotions. Moments of awe help us feel more connected to our surroundings and promotes positive social behaviors like kindness, cooperation, self-sacrifice, and sharing. Nature is one of the greatest sources of awe-inspiring views and experiences. 
  • Promotes activity: Spending time outdoors encourages adults to get up and start moving. People who go outside more often are less sedentary and closer to reaching their recommended physical activity levels. As a result, spending time outdoors is also associated with a lower risk of developing chronic disease. 
  • Enhances wellbeing: Increased physical activity is just one of the wellness benefits of being outside. Going outside can help improve your physical and mental wellbeing. In one study, participants who spent two to three hours a week outside were 60% more likely to report an improved wellbeing than those who stayed indoors.
  • Improves life satisfaction: People who view their life as rich, meaningful, and high-quality have high life satisfaction. Studies show that spending just 20 minutes in a park can help boost life satisfaction by 64%
coworkers walking together along a river

Ideas to Encourage Your Staff to Spend Time Outside

Encouraging your staff to spend more time in nature can have a profound impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. Spending time outdoors will help them de-stress and recharge so they feel happier and more productive. Here’s how to motivate your employees to get outside more: 

1. Start a Company-Wide Walking Challenge 

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to motivate your employees to spend more time outside. Start a company-wide walking challenge and reward the employee with the most steps. Host an outdoor lunch break so people have a chance to rack up their scores during work. It’ll encourage them to spend more time in nature and boost team camaraderie. 

Use a convenient platform where your staff can participate in step, activity, or wellness challenges and track everyone’s progress. Employees can record steps, heart rate, nutrition, water intake, mood, weight, sleep, and mindfulness to lead a more meaningful lifestyle. Employees can interact on the app to motivate each other and keep up the team spirit.

NatureQuant is another great company that can help employees track their time spent inside, outside, and their exposure to nature. 

2. Plan a Fundraising Event 

Rally your team to get moving outside with a fundraising event for the charity of their choice. Plan a 5K or walkathon where employees can earn donations for being active. A charity event will motivate your staff to get some fresh air while working together to achieve their fundraising goal. 

If you’re too busy or don’t have the space to plan your own fundraiser, you can still get involved by attending an outdoor charity event in the community. For example, there are Heart Walks every year for the American Heart Association all across the country. Or, you could create a virtual fundraising event

3. Design an Outdoor Space 

Deciding how to get outside every day is easier with a dedicated space for enjoying nature. Employees may be more likely to spend their breaks outside if they have access to a comfortable outdoor lounge. You can easily transform a courtyard or patch of grass near your building into an outdoor lounge with a reasonable budget. 

Install a few picnic tables, lounge chairs, and maybe a few hammocks where people can read, eat lunch, and experience the benefits of being outdoors. If your workplace is in an industrial area, you can add plants and greenery to make the space feel more natural. Creating an outdoor lounge is a fairly simple and affordable way to increase employee happiness. 

4. Schedule a Team Picnic

Invite your team to a company-wide picnic lunch with food and outdoor games. It’s a fun way to encourage your staff to enjoy some fresh air and get to know each other. You could even plan some team-building activities to strengthen morale. Hanging out in nature will help your employees clear their minds and blow off some steam so they can return to work feeling happy and refreshed. 

5. Create a Nature Path 

Encourage your team to spend time outside during their breaks by creating a dedicated nature path where they can rack up some steps. If your budget allows, you could pave a loop around your facility. You could also simply lay out some cones and the grass will wear into a path eventually. Add some flowers or trees along the trail to give people something to admire while they walk. 

Get Your Team Outside With Walker Tracker 

The benefits of spending time outdoors help your staff feel happier and more motivated. As seasons start to bring more sunshine and warmer weather, you can be proactive in getting employees outside more with a walking challenge! Walker Tracker helps unite your employees with fun and engaging physical activities that you can easily monitor from one convenient platform. 

Schedule a meeting to learn more about Walker Tracker and the ways we increase staff engagement, build team camaraderie, and boost employee wellness.