Editor's Blog

Let's go outside
The glorious weather we’re having cannot have escaped your attention. The country has been walking on sunshine for more than a week now, and in the words of the Katrina and the Waves song, it’s time to feel good!

I’m no doctor, but it’s pretty obvious to me that the simple act of being outdoors reduces stress and is positive for the mind and body. All those times your mum told you fresh air is the best medicine; she wasn’t just making it up, you know.

However, in a recent survey carried out by Center Parcs among 175 members of the event industry, 61 per cent of respondents said health and wellbeing is a high focus for internal events, yet only 26 per cent said outdoor space was a priority when booking an event or meeting destination.

So have event professionals forgotten the simple pleasures and benefits of getting out of the office and into the sunshine? Well, no, I suspect they haven’t. We might be basking under blue skies at the moment, but the weather in the UK is not quite reliable enough to make outdoor events as easy as 1-2-3. There’s a reason they put a roof on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, is what I’m saying.

However, while the prospect of rain is undeniably real, the stress-busting benefits of being outdoors are still well worth pursuing. To that end Liz Pilling, corporate events commercial manager at Center Parcs, has provided us with a simple four point plan for businesses to harness the power of the natural outdoor environment to keep employees as happy and stress-free as possible:

1. Book internal events at a destination with outdoor space. This will give your team an opportunity to explore the outdoors in conference downtime. A real plus in the warmer months!

2. Tie an outdoor team building session (pictured) into your event. Team building is a great way to reward and relax delegates, therefore aiding workplaces by improving the wellbeing of employees.

3. If you have a heavy conference programme to put together consider stretching your event into two days so that you can factor in more free time for delegates to explore and make the most of their surroundings.

4. Encourage walking meetings. Why hold your team catch-ups in the boardroom? Make the most of the outdoors and have a walk and talk.

“For many people the purpose of work is not solely income, it is often associated with achievement, socialising, personal identity and purpose,” Pilling adds. “Access to the outdoors and nature could be a simple solution to achieving improved employee wellbeing and positive attitudes in the workplace, as well as increased productivity.”

So there you have it – me, you, outside – now!

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