There is something peculiarly satisfying about sitting on a sunny park bench or laying on the sands of the beach and doing absolutely nothing, yet enjoying every minute of it. Seldom will you find a person who can feel that same satisfaction in the confines of an office. The fluorescent lights can never compete with the sun, and the chilly blasts from the vents are a poor substitute for warm breezes. The typical 9 to 5 work day takes up some of the best hours of sunlight. This begs the question of why so many employers require all work tasks to be performed indoors, where employees often resent being.
Concededly there are several jobs and tasks that can only be performed indoors, but when an employee has the opportunity to take work outdoors, both the worker and the employer can benefit. Research and experience show that being outdoors can improve a person’s health, reduce stress, and release endorphins. A recent study has also shown that it can improve one’s attention. Happy, healthy, attentive workers tend to be the most productive, and the least likely to quit their jobs.
Recently, I was granted the opportunity to take my own work outside. Without using much time or skill, I built a fully equipped work station in my own back yard. Intuitively, you may think the distractions of the outdoors would hinder my research and writing. On the contrary, being so relaxed kept me constantly focused and on task. There was never a need to check the clock, anxious about when the work day would end, because being where I enjoy to be makes it feel like it isn’t work at all.
As the world continues to advance into a wireless age, more and more work can be done outside. Writing, research, clerical work, meeting with clients, or even engineering tasks can all be performed under the sun, with very few accommodations to make. Modern technology even allows real-time video conferences with employees almost anywhere in the world.
If your employees seem highly stressed or just weary of the office environment, consider letting them take their laptops outside once in a while. They will appreciate the benefits of the sun, and employers will appreciate the benefits of boosted morale.