Have a happier workforce – let them outside with remote learning!
With the summer at its height, your workforce may be looking longingly out of the window, dreaming of tans and the gentle hum of busy insects. However, they snap back to reality in their cool, dim office space, bound to their desk.
A recent study has found that the majority of office workers in the UK spend less time outdoors than prisoners, with around 35% shockingly spending less than 15 minutes outside each day .
Prisoners, conversely, are required to be allowed at least one hour of outdoor exposure each day, according to UN guidelines.
New research from Ambius, who surveyed both UK and US office workers, found that 13% of office workers spend a maximum of 30 minutes outside, whilst only 26% spend more than the recommended hour outside.
Worryingly, this has been a growing trend for some time. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that people spend 25% less time outside amongst nature compared to their predecessors of just 20 years ago.
What needs to be done?
There are numerous studies that suggest the positive effects of employees interacting with nature regularly; from reduced stress, to a productivity boost, to an increase in mindfulness. These soft benefits can lead to tangible benefits for organisations: reduced sick days taken.
Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius, is concerned by how little time people are spending time outside: ‘Human beings have an inherent need to connect with nature and green space. With workers spending so much time indoors, office managers need to be more aware of the impact the workplace has on wellbeing.’
However, with modern workplace demands workers to be switched-on and plugged-in, how can you encourage your workers to spend more time outside without impacting on their productivity?
The simplest solution involves the use of modern technology.
Studies have found that organisations that offer remote working, or home-based working, have a higher retention rate and more content employees with a healthier, more balanced work/life balance. Commuting time is reduced, freeing up time in your employees’ days.
One study has even found that those facing greenery take 19% less sick days than those who do not!
However, organisations are often concerned that critical elements of their workers’ days will be neglected if they are not gathered in the same location: how will they share ideas? Who will provide them with hands-on assistance? Who do they turn to if they are unable to go any further?
A mobile-optimised LMS will allow your employees to log into the system anywhere, at any time, to uncover the learning resources required at the moment of need. This means that employees can afford to work from home – or any location of their choice! – whilst gaining the learning resource necessary for their job role.
These mobile learning courses could teach your employees new skills, upskill their existing knowledge, or enable them to pass compulsory training required for compliance – all in the comfort of their chosen location.
Your LMS provider should ensure that collaborative learning is a feature on their system; this will enable your learners to provide feedback and ratings on courses, recommending certain courses that they found to be of value.
Freeman advises organisations to encourage workers to ‘reconnect with nature in some way – even a ten-minute walk outside at lunchtime can be restorative’. By allowing your employees to work – and learn – outside, you give them the opportunity for headspace, loyalty for your organisation, and most importantly, the ability to make the most of their personal working and learning optimum times.
 HR Grapevine, ‘Office workers spend less time outdoors than prisoners’, 9 Aug 2018