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Jez's Notebook | Ramblings on Corporate Speaking & Hosting Archive

Nature Works – isolation, lockdown, and distancing

Is it possible to reconnect to the things that really matter?

I continue to hear people referring to the “return to normal”; references to the “new normal”, and desperate pleas of “getting back to how things were”. There’s a fine line to understanding, I think, what people really mean though. I think we all yearn for our total freedom and to not have to think about the distance and protective measures required for interacting with others. However, to go back exactly to how things were would be a total tragedy. We are exercising more; more conscious of social interaction and wildlife and the environment are both thriving more than they have in tends of years because of the reduced human pollution. Surely we don’t mean to undo all the good we have – all-be-it unintentionally – done?

I predict we will soon see another rise in the need to connect with nature again, as further travel and social restriction sanctions are placed on more of the world due to the rising cases of corona virus; the fallout being a return to an especially isolating disconnection. But also a return to work and whatever individual “normal: looks like because with that will come different stresses and anxieties. And we’ll need an outlet for that.

Just like during lockdown, more of us will experience the frustration, anxiety, tension, and stress that comes as a result of our disconnection with nature. The desperation to be healed – all-be-it a largely subconscious desperation – was well documented

Nature Works – the impact on performance and culture

We’ve seen a marked increase in people spending time in, and feeling the benefits of, nature. Now is the time for organisations to embrace that fully.

The global COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in a widespread increase of individuals reconnecting with nature: walks in the park; gardening, and socially distanced outdoor meetings being just a few ways that we’ve been able to readily engage with the fresh air; green visual spaces, and plant life.

The surge of interest may well have initially been triggered by suddenly having time on our hands to get that garden sorted; grown your own to avoid reliance on overstretched supermarket supply chains, and providing something interesting and engaging to do while not being permitted to travel or socialise freely.

Nature Works – two key questions

What are we doing?

In my keynote presentation I display several images of real scenes from around the world. They’re each poignant, and snapshots of moments I don’t think most of us would be proud to know that we’re a part of or have contributed to.

A seal looks at the camera, its neck restricted by some plastic it has become caught up in; a controversial country leader grins proudly; a surfer rides a huge wave among plastic, litter and pollution; a homeless person, cold and hungry pleads as passers by ignore him; a forest felled for its wood, animals fleeing from what was once their home. These scenes, and many much closer to home, or witnessed in the news and reported by the world’s media, often lead us to ask: “what are we doing?”. Which is frequently followed up with: “why are we doing it?”. Those questions are easy to ask from the comfort of a sofa, distanced from the reality and without any real, purposeful questioning as to how we might be cause of some of those problems.

However, those two questions: “what are we doing?” and “why are we doing it?” are questions that I encourage all businesses I work with to apply to as many points of their systems and processes, and indeed the decisions they make and even with interactions with their colleagues – as often as possible. Stop; pause for a moment and seek a sense check. We don’t stop often often; we don’t pause when we absolutely can, without any detrimental effect. But nature does. Winter time is a stark and harsh reminder; not simply a metaphor but a real-world, active reminder, that pausing can often be a period of renewal. To reset if that’s required, but also just to review. By all means continue as you were, but give yourself the opportunity as an individual, or as a business, to ask yourself what on earth you are doing, and why you are doing it.

Gardening sees us nurturing something that’s living, and growing. It is often vicariously dependent on us. It never ends; a continual process, which gently offers planning for the future, and hope. But more importantly it connects us with nature. Evidence shows us that gardeners are happier than those who do not garden* and those who are active in other ways (running, swimming etc) also rate as happier. Physical activities and connecting with nature make us happier. Yet so many of us, at home and at work, sit, indoors, and without any real connection to the nature world. Perhaps not enough people know this, as we seem still so drawn to information, stimulation and entertainment at our fingertips – digital content appeals to our innate, human laziness.

Businesses can create more engaged, effective, and happier workforces by asking two simple questions: “what are we doing?”, and “why are we doing it”?.

 

*BBC Gardener’s World magazine ‘Happiness Report’ [2013]

Nature Works – the neuroscience behind nature

Nature works on our brain at a neurological level, improving not only our happiness and calmness but our ability to concentrate and be productive.

As part of a new series of videos on my YouTube channel and on social media (@ThatJezRose) celebrating #WorkplaceWednesday; how nature can help businesses thrive and employees feel great, and just what impact does nature have on our health, wellbeing and behaviour?

There are many things that stimulate our brains to produce “feel good” chemicals that in turn help us to feel happier, calmer and reduce stress – in turn allowing us to be more productive, focused and energised. Some of those are obviously chemical but there’s a whole host our body naturally produces and which can be stimulated by specific factors.

I believe one of the most remarkable things about nature, available to every employer – and employee! – to harness is the entirely free ability to improve and change human behaviour. Reconnecting harmoniously with the natural world, both in and out of work results in healthier, happier, productive, efficient and ultimately more profitable

Why CSR and Why Now? Sustainability As a Source of Connection in Crisis

Why CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)?

In short – why not? Aside from any ethical or moral arguments, starting a journey to becoming g a “responsible business”; taking into consideration ways your organisation can help others, or at least champion or support good causes, is actually a smart and considered commercial decision, too. According to Business Case for Purpose, companies with a clearly defined sense of purpose are up to 50% more likely to successfully expand into a new market. 

Actively creating a sustainability project, or considering how your business might be seen to be more responsible, engages existing employees; is more attractive to graduates and individuals with a greater sense of work ethic, and is welcomed by key stakeholders as a sign of future protection. It’s also a PR and marketing department’s dream!

Why Now?

In any time of uncertainty; period of change, or moment of reflection, humans need something to believe in: something to positively capture our attention and inspire us. Off the back of Brexit, our attention is now dominated by Corona virus. While both

Corona Crisis Sees Surge in Responsible Businesses Adopting Beehives

The Coronavirus has put a stop to a lot of things, but it’s also shined a spotlight on the importance of finding innovative ways to maintain engagement with staff and stakeholders, whilst simultaneously embracing novel methods of cutting through a lot of noise to ensure your brand and its values continue to be seen.

Adopting a bee hive provides a corporate social responsibility (CSR) solution with maximum environmental impact.

Here on my farm, we’ve been providing businesses the opportunity to adopt working honeybee hives for three years now. In that time we’ve worked with clients from a wide range of sectors: hospitality; creative; retail, and automotive, including The Ned hotel in London; Tom Sellers’ Michelin-starred Restaurant Story and Sophie Allport. We’ve attracted some of the most iconic brands in Britain, but one thing that connects them all is the realisation just how important it is to be able to demonstrate in what ways they are a responsible business. Simply talking about “doing your bit” is no longer enough – you need to be seen to be acting, and with a clearly positive outcome.

According to Business Case for Purpose, companies with a clearly defined sense of purpose are up to 50% more likely to successfully expand into a new market.

Fortunately, my work as a conference host and consulting on behaviour insight has brought me up close to business challenges. It was this that helped show me exactly what my clients needed, and we were fortunate

Top Tips for Maximising Digital Conferencing

If you’ve cancelled your company conference, or postponed a live training or development event due to the Coronavirus concerns, you’ll know all too well that you’re also faced with a broader challenge: how to maintain employee and stakeholder engagement; inspiration and networking, and distribute key messages or education.

While there are many communication opportunities that exist, from internal social media like Yamma, and distributed newsletters, one of the popular topics right now is digital conferencing as more organisations ask the question: “can we continue with our conference plans but online?”.

The reality is that, despite the

Nature works – but does your work nurture nature?

A new video and article series by Jez Rose explores how nature works to improve workplaces.

Surprisingly little has been written about the impact of nature on workplace wellbeing, behaviour and business performance culture, and as a result very little is known about it in almost all of the industries I work in as a speaker and workshop facilitator.

A few years ago I began an independent research study entitled The Good Life Project, along with colleagues from psychology and neuroscience, to evidence the impact of nature on human health, wellbeing and behaviour. The results were so dramatic that they were often simply unbelievable. We checked and we double checked to make sure data was being interpreted correctly and we analysed with the severest skepticism existing studies.

Despite the data available, almost all organisations I work with are either unaware of the positive benefits, or simply don’t understand it. I’m about to change all of that with

Presentation Skills Masterclass Launches As Ultimate Guide to Speaking and Presenting

I’ve been asked for as long as I can remember to offer people advice on speaking and presenting.

Very often clients will ask for help writing or structuring a speech they’ve been asked to deliver at a conference; or for tips on speaking confidently and professionally in front of peers or customers.

It’s always been difficult to find the time to help them, especially given the volume of enquiries my team receive. While my live presenting workshops here at the farm have proved extremely popular and are an ideal space for training a larger number at one time, I recognise that sometimes it’s difficult to take time out of work, and with clients literally around the world, geographically it can prove challenging trekking to the Lincolnshire countryside!… although I have had clients fly here from both Ireland and Brussels!

I started producing simple to use resources like this Top 12 Tips for Professional Presentations and from there I got a little bit carried away…

We’ll Pay You Later

Imagine that today your computer broke. They sometimes – thankfully rarely, although usually when you really need them or are in the middle of something important – transition rapidly from absolutely fine to complete meltdown.

Well, imagine that happened at work. You’ve no backup computers and the long term solution is, of course, to replace the computer. You’re going to need to buy one but when you call the computer supplier, you tell them that you want the computer now but won’t pay them until three months time.

Or imagine that you decide you’re going to all get together and have a nice coffee from the independent coffee shop near your office, sending out someone to get takeaway coffees every lunchtime. When you order them you tell the coffee shop owner that you’ll pay them in three months time.

There is an increasing trend by organisations – large organisations with tens of millions of pounds of profit – to tell suppliers their