Sick of WFH? Try Work from Nature

As work from home continues in some organizations what is it like working in paradise!

By Mary Forgione

Has the monotony of working within four walls frowned upon you? Isn’t the bedroom backdrop for all the meetings just too passé? Imagine filling your analysis sheet overlooking a lush green valley? Or working with a green view? Freelancing is the new normal and has aspirational value among today’s professionals. With travel on pause, we noticed restaurateurs recognizing the need for creating rejuvenating green workstations that feel like ‘beleisures’ i.e. business-leisure trips.

An offshoot of beleisure, workation, which combines work and vacation, has seen a massive rise among working professionals. As long as there’s Wi-Fi, a pool, and a lawn at a fully serviced home, mountains, or sea since you can’t have both. People do not mind spending weeks, or even months working out of these private homes at drivable distances from the city. Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and the pandemic has even fastened the process.

Moreover, quick work-outings to the nearby theme park are also a growing trend.

AirTalk’s Larry Mantle hosted a radio segment recently dedicated to Southern Californians who went to theme parks, Griffith Park, and other out-of-the-house locations to work. I couldn’t love this idea more. Truth be told, I’ve been doing this pretty much since the pandemic started. One time, I was writing away at a park bench when a gust of wind showered oak leaves on my keyboard. It was as if nature was demanding my attention. I happily obliged, picking up the curled leaves and examining their shapes and texture.

Now I’m formally giving a shout-out to WFN as an alternative to the humdrum of staying inside. To start, try this: Go to your local park and work for as long as your laptop lasts without being plugged in. If you have Zoom meetings, find a quiet spot with a nice backdrop. I’ve done this, and people seem to appreciate my non-fake backdrops. Use a hot spot on your phone, or try visitor Wi-Fi, though you may want to sign in via VPN for security reasons.

After you’ve mastered your local park, go farther, maybe a hike to Amir’s Garden or Dante’s View in Griffith Park. Or maybe visit a park you’ve never been to, one you can explore on your lunch break. Maybe bring binoculars along to check out the local birds. The idea is to get your work done outside of the mind-numbing walls you’ve been staring at. And, no, working while sitting outside a Starbucks doesn’t count unless it’s the one in Rancho Palos Verdes with spectacular views of the Pacific.

Who knows? WFN could become a healthy habit — and reawaken a bond with nature you didn’t know you were missing. It’s up to you whether you tell the boss where you are.

The trend of WFN is global and fast catching up with professionals from almost all walks of life. The economic uncertainty of the pandemic has caused many workers to lose their jobs and exposed others for the first time to nonstandard work models. Many organizations responded to the pandemic’s economic impact by reducing their contractor budgets, but there has since been a shift.

And, the new generation of digital nomads is enjoying the challenge.

For Delhi-based Megha Moorthy and her partner traveling is pretty much the highlight of their lives. So, obviously, they were feeling cooped up like the rest of the world with the COVID situation which is when they started thinking of working from somewhere else.

Moorthy who works for wildlife conservation and biodiversity website believes that being close to nature increases productivity.  She says, “When the lockdown started, I preferred to sit in my garden and work and when I moved to the mountains I realized that I had more time in hand. I also keep a binocular with me always so that I can keep an eye on the birds around. My partner is also having a great time walking around and looking for species to photograph.”

For the first time, passion and work have blended beautifully for the working professionals who are nature lovers too, something that could have never materialized with the annual leaves available in a normal year. Work from home has facilitated this unique opportunity and these nature lovers just could not miss this out. Working from home is a freedom in the sense that now people can travel with their families any time anywhere and still manage to be present for work every day from anywhere. Family time is not compromised, and online schools also contributed largely to this.

Research shows human beings have an innate need to be close to nature, explained by a phenomenon called biophilia. It explains why we enjoy soaking in the sun, watching the ocean waves lashing against the beach, or breathing in the mountain air. With the gradual easing of the rules by the government, we observed a switch from work from home to work with nature at cafes/restaurants. We further researched to know the benefits of Work from Nature (WFN).

Improves Productivity

Research shows 45 percent of employees feel better working from outside and 65 percent felt well about themselves too. Science proves that working with nature improves oxygen levels, further bettering cognitive functions i.e. the mental ability to think, reason, learn, and more.

Looking at greenery provides a positive boost to your mood. Many respondents agreed that they feel happier working from Nature Cafes. The serendipity amidst nature provides a sense of calm, helps them be more focused. Nature walks are often recommended by doctors too, they reduce the chances of onset of depression.

According to the study by Michigan University, nature walks and green surroundings improve short-term memory. The study proved students who were exposed to nature had a better memory than those who stayed within the walls.

Better Creativity

Mother Nature is the best source of inspiration and creativity. Inventions such as airplanes inspired by birds and submarines inspired by whales are great examples of bio-mimicry, a technology-oriented approach that studies nature and imitates it to create a design. Many freelancers and artists, in particular, prefer working from nature and the new nature cafes are the perfect spot for such professionals.

Health Benefits

Work from nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone levels and works as an anecdote to stress. It also improves immunity and research found out – employees working from nature were healthier than the ones who work indoors.

No one is complaining!

(Courtesy: The LA Times)

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: What’s Hot) and (Image Courtesy: Formasapace)

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