Whether your day to day work involves sitting in a busy corporate office in a buzzing city, or being self-employed and working from a home office, spending more time outdoors during the day could be a helpful way to boost your health, wellbeing, creativity and productivity.
It can be tempting to consistently work through lunchtimes and organise meetings within the same tired four walls of an office. Arranging a netwalk can be great way to energise your mind and body, whilst you share ideas or solve problems with colleagues, clients or new contacts.
Research continues to show the significant benefits of spending time in nature. The Guardian has reported how research shows that "spending time in nature improves cognition, helps with anxiety and depression, and even enhances human empathy" and according to the New York Times: "Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks, and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside".
There is also a field of study that tries to understand how walking in forests affects people at a molecular level, in our cells and neurons. The data is compelling: leisurely forest walks reduce heart rate and blood pressure, decrease sympathetic nerve activity and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Netwalking represents work-life balance in action, and encourages people to relate to eachother in a more relaxed and natural manner - particularly as they don't have to focus all their attention on eachother!
Having meetings outside in nature with its changing vistas, sounds and textures can energise conversations, inspire innovation and support people to make decisions that are holistic, sustainable and inclusive. It can also help you get to know the local area and community.
Netwalking can happen one-to-one, or involve small groups of people. It can help people to build rapport, incorporate a coaching element, or provide an opportunity to walk and talk through more complex business challenges. You can seek out a peaceful local park or canal path, or explore hidden churchyards and quiet backstreets within the city.
In addition to arranging your own netwalks, you may want to research facilitated netwalks happening in your local area. These are often organised around a particular theme with a series of questions to encourage conversation and explore different aspects of professional life.