There's no medicine like the great outdoors and there's no better time than now.
We are living in the world's largest working from home experiment.
For some, working from home (WFH) has been welcomed like a pot of fresh tea. No shaving, no commute, no small talk and no awkward staff lunches. For others, WFH has tasted like an underwhelming reheated croissant, with longer, less productive hours, a DIY physio-benefiting office, constant interruptions, and loneliness. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. The shift to working from home has opened the opportunity to work FAR from home (#WFFH).The easing of restrictions, flexible working arrangements and a renewed focus on mental health means Australians now have a ticket to the great outdoors and to reap the benefits of nature!History and scientific data has shown time and time again that displacement of species from their natural habitat results in poorer health outcomes, and, for an increasing number - extinction. The modern world is becoming incompatible for the human species, and a return to nature is a return to health and quality of life for all of us.Humans share a deep-seeded and intimate history with the natural world, though this relationship has changed dramatically over the last century. Today, more than half of the world’s population live in grey urban areas, and with rapidly advancing technology – spend less and less time outdoors.Despite this, research shows we get the greatest health benefits outdoors – and most of all from remote locations! In a survey of over 4,500 UK residents, Wyles and his team (2017) found that people feel most connected and restored after visiting rural and coastal areas. Nature reserves and protected habitats were rated the most beneficial compared to locations with lower biodiversity. We’ve got more than 500 national parks in Australia, so you’d better get cracking!Working far from home is your green card back to nature. Now you can turn a weekend into a week, a holiday into a home away from home. This could mean Zoom calls overlooking the Bass Strait, lunch breaks at Lake MacDonnell or emails from the Daintree.But turning a dream into a daily routine isn’t that easy. We need the support of our family, colleagues and of course our employers. So, here’s five killer arguments for those hard conversations to get you on the road!
NATURE IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY
We all want to work smarter and not harder, yet it’s never been so difficult with the blurring of work and home life. Getting outdoors can change that! Stevenson’s (2018) systematic review of over 40 studies found that people consistently demonstrate superior working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control following nature exposure.
NATURE BOOSTS ACCURACY
Everyone wins when there’s fewer mistakes! Research conducted by Lee (2015) showed that people who looked out to a flowery green roof for 40 seconds midway through an assessment task, made significantly fewer mistakes than those who paused to gaze at a concrete rooftop. If 40 seconds can change performance, imagine what could result from even more time outside!
NATURE SUPPORTS MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Our mental health has never been so important, and there’s a mountain of research showing that contact with nature increases happiness and wellbeing and reduces mental distress. Bratman and his team (2019) recorded significantly reduced anxiety and rumination, and greater positive interactions in people who completed a 50 minute nature walk compared to those who completed an urban track.
NATURE MAKES US KINDER AND ENVIRONMENTALLY-CONSCIOUS
Nature promotes a greater sense of purpose, and should be prescribed for everyone, especially your ‘difficult’ colleagues. Zelenski (2015) found that after a simulated fishing experience, those who had been pre-exposed to nature stimuli were kinder, more likely to cooperate and make environmentally-conscious choices than those who were exposed to architectural landmarks.
NATURE PROMOTES PERSONAL GROWTH AND CREATIVITY
From my time running a nature-based clinical psychology practice, I have noticed that clients report feeling most connected with themselves after experiencing nature – as it is. Sitting, breathing and experiencing the environment supports clients to accept where they are at, which in turn opens the gate to change. Outdoor play has also helped clients to shed self-limiting beliefs and regenerate child passions and creativity!
Nature truly is our oldest and greatest teacher and with the newfound freedom to #WFFH, there has never been a better time to hit the great outdoors with Jeep!
For over 80 years Jeep has been inspiring and enabling Aussies to take the road less travelled and get back to nature. Back to health. Back to happiness.
So what are you waiting for? You can go anywhere and do anything!
Outlook Ecotherapy, Director / Clinical Psychologist
B.A.Psych; M.ClinPsych, M.B.A (current)