From our days in the Savannah, humans have evolved a lot. But our natural evolution is a slow and steady process and it cannot keep in pace with the evolution in technology, which is exponential.
So though we moved from living in caves and hunting in the wilderness to air-conditioned offices and artificial lightings our body hasn’t learned to cope up with those changes.
As a result, we constantly live under stress. It is not just work pressure, or thoughts of mortgages that adds to our stress levels but also the environment we live in.
Humans need to be connected with nature, not wifi.
In fact, Google has created Biophilic offices for their employees to reduce stress and improve their creativity.
But for most people, this is easier said than done. Most of our lives are spent in offices. With rising unemployment rates all over the world, it is not easy to keep your job and create a nature-friendly work environment.
Luckily many companies in the software industry allow their employees to work from home.
I am one of these lucky people, I work from my patio. The only things I have there are my laptop, an outdoor ceiling fan, a non-swivel office chair, and a standup desk. Sometimes I go to the nearest park with my laptop and work from there.
But why is this important? What are the benefits of working outdoors?
1. Fresh air
Fire needs oxygen to burn. The same is true for our body. Oxygen is needed to burn the fuel (fats and sugars) in our cells to produce energy, the same energy that helps us to focus and be productive.
Sadly many office environments with their artificial air circulation system reduce the intake of oxygen. As a result, we fail to focus and get stressed.
When you work outside you get an unlimited supply of oxygen. Breath freely, it reduces the levels of stress-inducing hormones like cortisol. This is exactly why Yoga and other meditation techniques focus heavily on breathing exercises.
2. Better Health
Have you noticed that it is much easier to take a walk when you are outdoors? The surplus supply of Oxygen makes your body more energetic, increase focus and thereby increase productivity. And when we feel a little stressed it is pretty easy to get out of that chair and take a walk around.
This also helps in reducing chronic back pain which most software employees experience. We all know the best solution for it is to take a break from work, but that is almost impossible when working in an office. But if you are working outdoors what is stopping you?
A detailed Havard study on the subject shows that people working outdoors and other nature-focused office spaces shows improved productivity and take less sick leaves. Employers, please take note.
Also exposing yourself to sunlight have many health benefits. It helps to create more Vitamin D in our body which reduces the risks of dementia and arthritis.
3. Better for eyes
We have all heard that looking at green objects help to improve our eyesight. That’s wrong, what you need to do is look at an object that is at a distance so the muscles of your eyes relax. So definitely this won’t work if you are looking at a desk plant.
But when working outside it is easy to take a peek at ‘trees and meadows’. This helps to reduce the stress of your eyes, which is a problem for those staring at their computer screens for long.
4. Improved cognitive abilities
Problem solving and learning are two factors that contribute to one’s success in their job and career as a whole. Studies have proven that our cognitive abilities are at their best when we are relaxed and energetic. And you are more likely to be energetic and relaxed when working outdoors.
Also spending 20 minutes in open air provide energy equals to 1 cup of coffee, and without any of its side effects!
5. Improved happiness
Have you noticed that when depressed people spend a lot of time alone within their walls? This doesn’t help to reduce its strength on the contrary it only makes the person more depressed. According to this Time article, people get depressed when spending a lot of time inside, following anxiety and other health problems.
In my case, I didn’t need the Time study to know working indoors results in depression. I have been working from home for the past four years, and as time passes I was getting depressed for no reasons at all! Later I realized my mistake and went outdoors.
Spending a few hours are proved to improve people’s moods. This helps to reduce depressions and addictions. Happiness is definitely a byproduct of following a relaxed and energetic lifestyle, and a few hours with mother nature is all you need to accomplish this.
If you are that lucky person who has a chance to work from home, definitely give it a try. Spending even a few hours outdoors can make dramatic changes in your life and career.