Over two-thirds of UK employees believe the amount of time they spend outside affects their mood and motivation, as a new study suggests even a small dose of outdoor working could bring significant benefits to a workforce’s productivity.
Ecommerce firm Alfresia.co.uk surveyed over 2,000 workers to find that, even taking into account lunch hours, many were only seeing half an hour of fresh air throughout the whole working day.
The findings suggested employers could benefit from allowing workers to take regular breaks away from desks, both for the long-term health of staff and the short-term boosts to morale and productivity levels.
The promise of outdoor working might also aid recruitment. Over a third of jobseekers said the amount of time spent outside was a factor when applying for roles.
Commenting on the findings, Nic Jones, head of digital at Alfresia.co.uk championed the evident benefits of outdoor working and advised employers to encourage breaks outside.
“Workplaces should encourage their staff to embrace the outdoors as much as possible while completing their jobs. Fresh air and sunshine has proven health benefits as well as boosting staff morale,” he said.
Construction workers saw the most sunshine, spending 303 minutes outside every working day.
The research sent a message to industries guilty of keeping employees behind closed doors. Workers in the financial sector spent just 34 minutes outside each day, while healthcare workers saw just 48 minutes of sunshine. IT professionals and retail employees fared slightly better, enjoying 52 and 71 minutes outside respectively.
“The amount of time we spend outdoors of course varies from industry to industry and role to role, not just due to the nature of the actual work and working environment but also due to the hours worked,” Jones added.
“Clearly those in the financial sector have heavy workloads and the vast majority is desk-based.
“However, it is great to see those in construction enjoy an extended amount of time surrounded by mother nature. Those that are not as fortunate to have much time outdoors during their working day should take regular breaks from screens or equipment and make the effort to venture outdoors during their lunch break.”
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