Nature Immersion to boost team engagement
Working remotely and flexibly has its benefits, but it has also taken its toll on the togetherness of work teams in Hampshire. Could a monthly outdoor team building event be the answer?
With flexible and hybrid working patterns set to remain, it’s time to get a bit more inventive with ways of bringing employees, teams and staff together – whilst also enhancing resilience, reducing stress and having some fun.
I have just the answer…but first, let’s explore the need for team building.
What has happened to traditional teamwork?
Who doesn’t miss those precious moments spent sharing each other’s latest commuting nightmare around the empty water dispenser? Or taking your turn to do the tea round, listening to a colleague munch their way through the third pack of crisps while gazing blankly at a screen, or being shown another cute picture of their cat? Happy days!?!
It will come as no surprise to many that with more teams working disparately and from home, managers are concerned that those previously strong bonds that come from spending office time together are being lost. For those who joined their company during or since the pandemic, it has been even harder to generate relationships and friendships with their team.
Flexible and hybrid working patterns look set to be part of our working lives forevermore. Therefore businesses and organisations have to work harder than ever to encourage teamwork and a sense of ‘working together’, as well as ‘togetherness’.
Check out some great tips on team building and wellbeing from Employee Benefits – https://employeebenefits.co.uk/employee-wellbeing/
What outdoor activities are good for team building?
OK, so there are plenty of team activities to choose from. Being in a different location than the normal workplaces, as well as being outside in the fresh air, brings lots of benefits.
However, there is also much to consider, especially with outdoor activities that require a certain level of physicality or fitness.
Choosing an activity that only some may be able to do, or only some might be comfortable to do, will not boost engagement, motivation or a sense of team togetherness. Instead, it potentially leads to discomfort and out grouping, so, could gentle, joyful, guided Forest Bathing be the answer?
Could Forest Bathing be your ideal outdoor team building activity?
Shinrin-Yoku (Nature Immersion or Forest Bathing, as it is often called) offers a delightful chance to get outside and share the wonders of nature with your colleagues, staff and teams, in various woodland locations across Hampshire. However, it does not rely on physical ability, problem-solving skills or competitiveness. You’ll find no tired, old-school team building games, here!
In Forest Bathing (FYI there are no baths involved, so you can most certainly all keep your clothes on!), not only can your team benefit from fresh air, but you can also form a connection to nature and reconnect with yourself. The practice is proven to result in sustained increases in health and happiness. And we all know, that team togetherness is a prerequisite of healthy, high performance.
Learn more about the benefits of Forest Bathing.
How does Forest Bathing for team building work?
The Japanese practice of bathing your senses in the atmosphere of the forest has a simple premise:
- immerse yourself in the forest
- absorb its smells, sounds, sights
- engage with the sensations you feel
- reap numerous psychological and physiological health benefits.
Sessions include sensory-based activities, nature-based mindfulness, meditation, connecting with the natural world, being in the present, and group sharing circles. There is a balance of solitude and companionship, with some exercises being done alone, in pairs or with the whole group.
Learn more about what happens in a typical Forest Bathing session here.
Forest Bathing can boost team engagement by helping to build and strengthen those all-important relationships and improve communication. By sharing an experience like this participants get to know each other on a deeper level. It is amazing what comes up for people and what participants learn… about themselves, about each other and about nature.
Are you making the most of the benefits of nature within your organisation?
I highly encourage not just one but regular Nature Immersion sessions for a team – the more you practice the more benefits you and your team will reap.
Between sessions, you can also encourage ‘random acts of wildness’. Example activities include listening to birdsong, cloud watching, nature-inspired photography and mindful walking. If your team have kids, what about going on a bug hunt? These activities boost participants’ mood, health, and sense of connection to nature.
Encourage your employees to build nature connection activities into their daily lives and share these experiences in team meetings. How about introducing item 1 on the agenda as a wellbeing check-in or a nature connection sharing exercise, for example? If you need ideas here’s a winter activity guide and a spring activity guide.
We also run online nature connection events, which are 60-minute sessions for groups of up to 12. This works brilliantly with virtual teams, and members joining from their gardens or local woodland. Find out more here.
The Wildlife Trust runs 30 Days Wild every June – offering a whole host of ideas to get you started. Could you sign your team up this year?
Book your team building session to increase resilience and boost productivity now
Give your team the gift of nature connection this year…and see the resulting improvements in motivation and engagement. Come together and take a ‘bath’ in the forest to boost your people’s productivity and nurture their wellbeing.
Adore your Outdoors runs half and full-day Forest Bathing team-building experiences across Hampshire and Berkshire, at various woodland locations – all easily accessible and with convenient parking. If your office or workplace, has a good outdoor space, perhaps, we can even come to you.
We can also provide a selection of local catering options and add-on activities such as tree climbing or willow sculpture making.
Get in touch to find out more.