What do Kohl's, a Kentucky Toyota plant, Harvard Pilgrim and several other organizations have in common? They all offer their employees an outdoor organic garden to sow, tend, and reap. Employees enjoy the free, delicious, healthy food that their company provides them, but these organizations are also getting something more in return - healthier, more productive workers.
According to Prevention Magazine, fresh air can help your brain to function better. If your employees are getting fresh air on a regular basis, chances are that their productivity and your bottom line will improve.
A List of Ideas
Here is a list of what some companies are doing to encourage their employees to get outside. Many of these companies have appeared on one of Outside magazine's Best Places to Work lists.
- Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is nestled in the Nantahala National Forest at the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Aside from many outdoor jobs, employees can also enjoy miles of scenic trails to hike and bike.
- Hanson Dodge Creative, a 30-year-old ad agency to major "active lifestyle" brands has office bikes and kayaks for their Milwaukee, WI employees to borrow.
- Groundspeak, which sells GPS devices and related accessories, provides all the necessary equipment for their employees to get outside, test their products, geocache and have fun.
- Petzl America, which caters to the "vertical world," develops recreational and professional innovative tools and techniques as they relate to exploration, rescue, rock climbing and alpinism. As an outdoors "bennie," employees enjoy discounted ski passes.
- L.L. Bean, a trusted source for quality apparel, reliable outdoor equipment and expert advice for 100 years, offers its employees Team Days and Outdoor Experience Days, which include everything from hikes to paddling trips to other outdoor interests. Employees can also enjoy using camping, boating, fishing and other sports gear from the Employee Use Store.
- Patagonia, which offers outdoor clothing, apparel and gear for climbing, hiking, surfing, running and travel, offers flex time to their employees so that they can go surfing.
- Rally Software, a leader in Agile software development solutions, provides chances to get outdoors via company outings to a local go-kart track, a mini-golf course and ski resorts.
- Healthy Labs, a small, revolutionary and growing healthcare start-up in Berkeley, CA that offers social networks and software tools centered on disease conditions, offers employees free Team Lunch Days out in a sunny park and monthly team retreats doing such things as trampoline jumping, waterskiing, hiking, you name it.
- Noom, a smartphone app company that focuses on wellness products, offers company retreats away from New York City that include hiking, rafting and swimming.
- Basis, makers of the Basis B1 band, which collects data like heart rate, calories burned, physical activity and sleep patterns and allows you monitor yourself and connect with others, offers employees a Wednesday walk to a local outdoor food truck market for lunch.
What could you incorporate into your daily work offerings to encourage your staff to get outside a bit? If an idea isn't coming to you, try taking a brisk walk down the street and you may discover a simple, yet brilliant answer.
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