Photo: Workplace green time is a team building stress buster

Parkgate Branch colleagues hiked to Quarry Rock after work. Left to right: Tim, James, John, Slavica, Sea, Naila and Michelle.

By Aryne Sheppard, Senior Public Engagement Specialist

It's spring! Time for our annual 30X30 Nature Challenge, where participants commit to get into "the nature habit" by spending at least 30 minutes each day outside for 30 consecutive days. It's become a wildly popular national event that people across the country look forward to — especially after this year's brutal winter...

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But the intrepid outdoor enthusiasts at BlueShore Financial in British Columbia decided to buck the springtime trend. They held their office 30X30 last October — proving that any time, whatever the weather, is a great time to get outside.

Last July, BlueShore chose the 30X30 to pilot their new employee wellness initiative. All 12 branches and many staff at their North Vancouver head office signed up — including three branches where every employee participated — for a team total of 120 out of 320 employees. Their challenge ran from September 15 to October 13, 2014.

Supporting staff during a time of change

There was a particular reason for Blue Shore's choice of season: they scheduled their challenge to end just before four office locations were merging into one — a major move that meant upheaval away from regular routine, uncertainties and extra work. "In addition to building team connections, the outdoor physical activity helped build individual resiliency before this major change," said Employee and Corporate Communications Manager Karen Speirs.

BlueShore West Broadway photo.jpg

Team members all received reusable water bottles as an incentive and each branch chose their own kick-off events, including a walk around a local park, a hike to a local landmark and a stroll in the never-unexpected Vancouver rain.
Participants tracked their daily progress. Each week there was a draw for two prizes: $50 gift cards from Mountain Equipment Co-op, Nike, Lululemon or a garden centre of the winner's choice. At month's end, the grand prize — a $100 gift card — was won by Robert from the Whistler Branch.

"The project generated really positive feedback," said Keeping Well Committee head Serena Innes. "Being outdoors every day, we noticed all the details of summer turning to fall. People reported increased well-being, happiness and productivity. Many staff continued to get outside every day even after the month was up."

April 27, 2015
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2015/04/workplace-green-time-is-a-team-building-stress-buster/

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