Photo: How to improve your work life, naturally

Getting outside makes employees happier and healthier. These 30×30 Nature Challengers are taking action to protect nature by pulling invasive English ivy in Stanley Park.

More than 1,500 workplaces and schools spent 30 days in nature this May participating in the David Suzuki Foundation's 30×30 Nature Challenge. You can cultivate a "nature habit" where you work, too — starting any time of year!

I quizzed representatives of three companies — Interface (@Interface), Genuine Health (@GenuineHealth) and Aimia (@AimiaInc) — about why they get into nature at work.

How can staff let bosses know they need Vitamin "N" (i.e., time in nature)?

Interface: Encourage your employer to walk the talk. Reference research on the benefits of being in nature (download the 30×30NatureChallenge Workplace Toolkit) — improved performance, productivity and creativity and less absenteeism!

Genuine Health: Pitch it based on your company's core values and share testimonials with your employer. Getting outside makes employees healthier and happier.

Aimia: We made it a friendly competition, a weekly nature photo challenge that added some fun to the office and gave employees a chance to take a break from busy routines, share how they enjoy the outdoors and fall (back) in love with nature!

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What are the benefits to workplaces?

Interface: Staff reported feeling more connected to nature. Some individuals went from hating to go outside to requesting more outdoor work activities. They became conscious of suffering from a lack of "green time". (Queen of Greeners call this treeprived.) One employee felt stuck on a challenge, left the building to talk it through outside and had a breakthrough!

Genuine Health: The value of cultivating a "nature habit" is shared across our company. We loved seeing people come together to share stories at our love-lettering station, take walks outside together or catch up after the weekend to talk about their outdoor adventures.

What surprised your workplace about participating?

Interface: The number of associates that registered. It was fun to track their time outdoors with colleagues and share photos of their experiences. Our customers were also interested. It inspired some of firms to sign-up and develop their own internal program to engage employees.

Genuine Health: Despite being staunch believers and advocates for the healing powers of nature, adding that level of commitment to a challenge brought a sense of mindfulness. Also we felt connected to other Canadians doing it at the same time!

Did you get your workplace take part?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

May 30, 2016

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