Office workers! Get off your bums!


Ioana Biris of Nature Desks argues that it’s time to follow in Amsterdam’s footsteps and work outside for the UK’s first Outdoor Office Day

Maybe you are reading this message indoors, whilst in your office? Your laptop is probably nearby, the next meetings are planned, exchanging ideas and making plans. A couple of them will probably take place online. Tomorrow you might work remotely but the pace will be the same: busy, involving lots of sitting behind a screen.

Hopefully you’ll see green through the window of your office, but most probably you will not really be in connection with the surrounding nature during working hours. What a pity, isn’t it?

In an article recently published in The Conversation, Ricardo Correia, assistant professor at Turku University of Applied Sciences, writes: “The frantic pace of modern life is damaging our sense of time, but nature can help us heal”. He proposes that nature experiences offer a “potential solution to the increasingly widespread feelings of time scarcity caused by contemporary urban lifestyles”.

It is not only the frantic pace of the modern word which leads us to extend an open invitation to take your work outdoors, be active and reconnect with the nature. Recent figures by the World Health Organisation on physical activity levels – both in Europe and the UK – paint a disturbing picture about our health and wellbeing. Almost half the EU population (45%) never do exercises or play sports. On an average day approximately 44% of people spend between 2 hours and 31 minutes, and 5 hours and 30 minutes sitting on a chair; 11% sit even more than 8 hours and 30 minutes every day! In the UK the numbers are as bad: according to a study published by the BBC a quarter of the adult population in England is currently deemed to be inactive, with more than 11 million doing less than 30 minutes of total activity in a week.

Keeping in mind the many hours we spend working in our offices, it is absolutely a great idea if you could take your next meeting outdoors. Combine your work with a breath of fresh air and natural scenery. Why not walk in urban nature on June 13th 2024 during the first edition of Outdoor Office Day in the UK?

Are you looking for other reasons than being physically more active? A study published by Harvard Business Review shows that our emotions and wellbeing, our creativity and thinking but also our connection to others are enhanced by being in nature.

The New Forest National Park, Slow Ways and the Green Halo Partnership are inviting you to take your work outdoors on June 13th.

Join us and for a walking meeting during your working day. Why? Scientific research has shown that you will feel more creative, healthy and happy while spending time surrounded by nature, whether you’re in a city or in the countryside. It will enhance new and meaningful relationships, stimulate the flow of good ideas and support the forging of valuable collaborations.

How to take part

  • add a ‘walking meeting’ slot in your calendar on June 13th 2024
  • invite a colleague, business partner or stakeholder, or your whole team
  • choose a topic to brainstorm about or a problem to solve while walking together
  • choose a short walk in nature in your neighbourhood
  • you can also be more adventurous and plan a longer Slow Ways walking route
  • share your experience, upload a great image and tag us #OutdoorOfficeDay #OutdoorOfficeDayUK #SlowWays #NewForest
  • enjoy your walking meetings and the great outdoors!

More information: Outdoor Office Day is an idea born in Amsterdam and an initiative of Nature Desks, a non-profit platform that brings (urban) nature, work, vitality and wellbeing together.