Understanding what levels of productivity to keep at work can be tough, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent research found that six in 10 employees feel guilty about taking any sort of break during remote working. Many are skipping lunches. The reasoning behind the sudden work crunch is workers are worried their productivity isn’t meeting the standards that were set in the office.
It’s been proven that overworking can not only lead to lower levels of production but can eventually cause the career killer — burnout. In order to avoid burnout and flickering career ambitions, perhaps employees just need some fresh air to clear their minds and help get them back on track.
A new study that interviewed 2,000 office staff workers found that going outside for as little as 30 minutes a day can create big boosts to productivity and enhance your mood.
The research, conducted by Lenovo via OnePoll, said that just 45% of workers saw productivity improve with just 29 minutes out outside time, while 63% reported feeling better about themselves after grabbing some sun and air.
It wasn’t only employees who felt their productivity improved; managers noticed it as well. Fifty-seven percent of managers polled in the survey said workers were more productive working remotely in the UK, with many encouraging workers to explore activities outdoors when they can.
“Increased flexibility at work means that people can adjust better to increasing demands and find a balance,” Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James said in a press release. “Spending some time outside in a green space is good for mind, body, and soul. Just 20 minutes of active time outside can generally improve our health and wellbeing.”
Langcaster-James said creating a “Recommended Daily Natura Allowance” — or RDNA — could provide a big boost to workers.
“That can lead to improved concentration as well as help you generate ideas and be more productive – so it’s a no-brainer to try to find ways to get your RDNA in,” he said. “It’s not always easy, particularly in the colder months, and many people need to leave home to find some green space, but there are ways you can organize your daily life so that you can increase your exposure to nature. Even if it’s just a case of mixing up your office environment with working outside for a period of time each day while the weather is good.”
This isn’t a groundbreaking finding, but one that follows extensive research on the benefits the outdoors has on your mind and body. Past research found that walking 90 minutes in a nature or urban settling lowered activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the region that focuses on negative emotions — which malfunctions when a person is depressed or under high levels of stress. Social distancing during quarantine challenged us in the beginning, but going outside is basically the only piece of our old day-to-day that has remained largely untouched (except for everyone branding masks and keeping distance).
Activities such as running were popular with respondents (four in 10 try to sneak one in before work), but most people said they just step outside to clear their heads.