Why You Should Take Your Work Outdoors

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about taking your workouts outside. It occurred to me that I completely ignored taking your actual "work" outdoors as well and the benefits of doing so.

When’s the last time you took a walk and talk?

Not on your phone.

An actual “Let’s go for a walk and talk”.

Man to man.

Face to Face

I spent much of the day at Evelyn’s Park on Friday here in Houston. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to be outside.

That doesn’t mean I was slacking off, skipping work or wasting the day outside.

For me, I function better when I’m outdoors and in nature. I don’t sit still very well or for very long so being able to move, walk, talk, take my work outdoors helps me to be more productive and get more accomplished.

I must’ve done 20 laps around the park. I walked and I talked. I was very fortunate to have had three different people meet me at the park to join me.

Trapping ourselves indoors has created what health experts call a "nature deficit disorder" -- depression or anxiety resulting from too little time spend outside. Getting outdoors can do great things for your health.

Reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving immune function are among nature’s health benefits. What's more, incorporating elements of nature into your workday can also give your brain a boost, resulting in increased productivity, focus and creativity.

Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, co-author of Your Brain on Nature, says a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it “stimulates reward neurons in your brain. It turns off the stress response which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure and improved immune response."

While Selhub says spending 20 minutes a day outdoors is recommended, studies have shown even looking at photographs of nature can deliver some of the same cognitive benefits as physically being outdoors.

What’s more? People open up outdoors. It reduces the tension of an office, boardroom, discomfort, anxiety, competition and creates a more pleasing, mutually beneficial relationship environment.

Here are a few things I recommend incorporating:

Take meetings out of the office. Hosting meetings outdoors is an easy way to get your daily dose of nature without taking a break from the job. By removing yourself from familiar office surroundings, you can literally step outside the box and feel freer to brainstorm ideas. Jeff Fitzhugh, one of my favorite people and CEO of Raen Sunglasses talked about the value of getting out and walking when he was on The Midlife Male Podcast. That if his team really wants to talk to him, join him on his walk. On Friday, it was my buddy Suchit who suggested we get coffee and walk and talk and so I built an entire day around that invitation.

Mix business with fitness. Sweatworking is the new Networking. I do much better in workout clothes than I do in a business suit. Now, I realize there’s a time and place for both in my business, however, inviting clients and prospects to meet for workouts has proved highly effective, fun, motivating and gets results, both health wise and business wise. It’s a great way of building camaraderie, increasing communication, and working on overcoming adversity together. That’s insuring success.

Take your laptop outdoors. Working at the park or an outdoor cafe can provide the mental stimulation required to get through the day. First, you can set up an outdoor workspace anywhere these days. Pretty much everywhere has wifi and you can even use your phone as a hotspot. Anti-glare screen is huge as it will allow you to minimize the brightness of the sun and still enjoy the benefits of fresh air, greenery, and ambient light.

Grab a Meal and Go. Since we know eating from your desk is bad for your health, lunchtime is a great opportunity to grab a breath of fresh air. It’s also a natural incentive to eat healthier. You’re outside, the weather is nice, you’re feeling good…You tend to order and eat a bit better. Go out for lunch!

We are not made to be locked inside a cubicle all day. We are biologically built to move around and get in touch with the outdoors. Our bodies need to experience changes in air, temperature, and scenery to interrupt the stagnant office environment.

What are you waiting for?

Take it outside.

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