Less Scrolling, More Strolling-Nature Well-being in the work place.


At Where The Mind Grows we believe that a healthy, happy workforce is also a productive, innovative and motivated one. In fact, studies by Oswald, AJ (2015) cited correlations between happiness and productivity and conversely individuals, who experienced significant life events such as grief and family illness, understandably resulted in lower productivity levels. Supporting the notion that putting time and effort into employee well-being and nurturing a positive and supportive work culture is going to pay dividends when it comes to outputs and results. We understand that quick wins and simple strategies are going to be favoured by many businesses, time and money are precious. Keeping things simple and subtle, when making change can be a great way to “test a model” and gauge employee’s attitudes and beliefs about transition. And whilst I am pretty sure few employees are going to grumble at your pledge to improve happiness and health. Natural preferences to change can mean that throwing a whole new system of well-being at a team may be met with a variety of confusion, resistance, and dissonance. Our series of blogs lay out simple quick wins that you and your team can “play” at. We hope it goes without saying that these ideas are delivered in collaboration with your team and that you create a mechanism for open feedback and evaluation in engaging your core stakeholders (you staff) in the process. Spoiler Alert! Our aim is to support businesses to develop their connection between well-being and nature, built on evidenced based concepts (of which we will share with you). We see the benefits and we want to share them with you. With action turning ever more to carbon neutral practice, emerging environmental policies, and increasing talk of circular economy, oh and that small issue that 1,496 jurisdictions in 30 countries have declared a climate emergency. It probably makes sense to start now in supporting your staff to get better connected and be ahead of the game when it comes to shifting to a nature-minded business model. Research identifies that people who connect regularly with nature, show more care and understanding for nature conservation. (as well as improved well-being!) As Miles Richardson (Professor of Human Factors and Nature connectedness at Derby University) writes, in his blog September, 2019 “we now have good evidence that nature connectedness is a route to both human and nature’s well-being” so it’s looking like a win-win all round. So how can you begin to introduce the concept the nature connectedness to employees? This might feel a bit of a woolly subject to bring in from scratch, and combine that with recognition of well-being and we understand that you may feel out of your depth. Here is where you can use your data. HR records on sickness or an annual staff survey’s will be able to highlight areas that can create a segway for discussion into topics of well-being. Consider your sickness records, and reasons for sickness ( of course being careful that any discussions are done in a generalised way that do not highlight specific staff) or perhaps your staff survey has told you that staff do not feel valued, or perhaps they feel there is too much to do? In a target driven environment, a depletion in outcomes may be an indicator that staff motivation or well-being is compromised. All of these give the narrative to begin a discussion around creating a happier, healthier environment to work. And so, to the initiative. Less scrolling , More Strolling. A simple approach that supports staff to make behaviour change and get out an active on a lunch break. Any one reading this in HR will know that back pain sits as one of the most common issues for staff and, amongst stress, equates to the highest referrals to Occupational Health and reasons for sickness. People are simply sitting for too long. Spending breaks hunched over a mobile phone (not so great for posture or well-being). More Strolling, Less Scrolling can be implemented in team meetings, a staff bulletin or blog. It’s important to enable staff to be inquisitive about new initiatives like this, and whilst we believe most staff will receive this (optional) idea positively. You may need to support objection handling, that could possibly be linked to lack of experience in walking, worry about time keeping or even FOMO (fear of missing out) to name a few. If you are thinking, “yes but our office is in an urban location?”, be reassured: nature is present in urban areas too. Whether it’s birds the sky, bugs in cracks of the pavement or the local coffee shops well-pruned topiary, once you see it, you will begin to notice more and more of it. Here are six simple steps to create your More Strolling, Less Scrolling Initiative: 1) Communicate/Collaborate – share with staff your desire to improve health and well-being and give them some of the benefits to getting out more. If only a few employees seem keen still go with it. As they reap the benefits others will get curious. 2) Show them this video, Restore your brain with nature in which David Strayer describes the benefits of getting out in nature (without looking at your phone SHOCK HORROR!) 3) Make it easy - Consider (as a team) suggesting walks that would be easy and safe to do within the lunch time break (if you have flexi time even better. Your team can devise a range of short, medium and longer strolls that meet the abilities and schedules of everyone). 4) Make your work environment equipped for strolling – This doesn’t have to be a costly affair; from a shoe rack to store walking shoes, umbrella’s for strolling in British weather or branded rucksacks so staff can carry water/lunch with them if they so want ( I mean wouldn’t you want other businesses to see how active your staff are and know who they work for?). 5) Make it fun – encourage staff to combine this with further initiatives. Be creative, from a daily steps chart challenge, to a “Notice Nature” photography competition. Or a “special spots” discovery activity in which small groups/teams are encouraged to find natural gems for others to explore too. 6) Help staff notice the benefits – This can be anything from a “walk of the week” discussion in team meetings in which staff(s) can highlight what they enjoyed/noticed to formally measuring how walking impacts outcomes (e.g. reduced sickness, increased productivity). We would love to hear how you get on with implementing this initiative, share your feedback at our Facebook page or even better your staff can tag us on Instagram @wherethemindgrows in their lunchtime “trunch” selfies using #LessScrollMoreStroll


References

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