As you’re looking for a job, you might see companies that try to attract you with benefits like health insurance and on-site gyms. While these are great, the best thing you can do for your long-term health is to find a position that gives the flexibility to work outdoors.
According to Business Insider, 86% of Americans are stuck behind desks all day. Many of those that work at a desk are recorded sitting for over 13 hours per day between their work and home life. Over time, sitting all day in an indoor environment damages the health of workers, leading some health experts to call sitting indoors the “new smoking.”
One way to combat the dangers of an office lifestyle is to take your work outdoors. An outdoor environment exposes you to nature and encourages you to move about and stay active. There are several reasons why you should consider ditching your chair for your next job.
The Dangers of a Desk Job
Studies show that sitting all day at a desk increases your risk of heart disease by over 60% and type II diabetes by over 110%. Prostate and breast cancer is 30% more likely among desk workers, while the risk of colon cancer can increase up to 50% for those to sit at a sedentary job for 10 years or more. Prolonged sitting also gives you a higher chance of gaining weight, fat, and cholesterol.
When you’re working indoors, you’re more likely staring at an LED screen all day. This can impact your eyesight over time and lead to retinal cell damage. Being indoors also exposes you to more bacteria and pollutants that are present in closed environments and office equipment. The lack of natural light and fresh air also contributes to more depression and stress, which in turn affects your happiness at work and the bottom line of your company.
Why You Should Work Outdoors
Research shows that those who spend time outside have greater energy and a 12% reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. Exposure to the open-air also improves sleep, with those who work outside getting an average of 46 minutes more quality sleep. And of course, sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D and helps prevent seasonal depression. Many offices don’t provide workers with enough natural light.
Thus, working outside can not only help you live healthier, but also provide you with more productivity and relief. In the infographic below from BigRentz, there are several science-backed reasons to ditch your chair and take your work to nature.
How to Take Your Work Outdoors
Of course, not all companies can allow outdoor work. However, there are many practices companies offer that still allow you to reap the benefits of nature. Try looking for companies that do things like walking meetings, group exercises outside of work, and outdoor lunches.
While you might not be outside your entire day, these activities provide that change of scenery and environment that your body needs to maintain its focus and health.
Another thing to look for are companies that provide the flexibility to work from home or outside of the office. This allows you to set up your outdoor workspace.
Along with wifi, cell phone data tethering, anti-glare shade, and outdoor seating, you will be able to complete your work while using nature to improve your productivity and happiness.
While you’ve likely heard that you should avoid sitting inside all day, perhaps the science-backed health benefits of the outdoors (and the dangers of the desk life) will inspire you to take action.
Ultimately, your workplace happiness should be your priority — nature provides a place for you to do that and find success in your career.