Laptop with a view: how getting closer to nature fuels creativity

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Anna Brech
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A recent survey by Yell Business found that a third of us Brits don’t feel inspired by our working environment.

A further 29 percent of those polled chose countryside as their dream motivational place of work, narrowly followed by the beach.

Being closer to nature comes with a host of psychological benefits. Studies show that even limited exposure to fields, woodland and coastal scenery can free the mind, leading to enhanced creativity. Being surrounded by wilderness also improves our ability to problem-solve, and encourages us to be healthier and happier too.

Of course, the demands of modern business means it’s not feasible to be out gallivanting in the sticks every second of the day.

On the other hand, as digital technology expands, more of us are able to work remotely from wherever we choose.

We hear from five professionals who’ve chosen to ditch a conventional office structure to be closer to the Great Outdoors. Whether they’re spending their lunch breaks on the beach or merely savour wide skies and sea views as they work, here’s how they’ve combined business with nature...

“It offers   a different view on life every day”

Michaela Barker of Guardian Angels Marketing traded in her office to traverse the UK in a motorhome

“We work with several very different clients located around the UK. On any given day, we’ll move from working in paediatric healthcare one minute to covering the latest celebrity must-have beauty treatments the next. This requires creativity and being able to think outside the box.

We found that being in an office (even though we are in a beautiful place in rural Lancashire) is not the best way to create concepts and campaigns, so we started to travel and work instead from our mobile office: a motorhome. 

Being out and about means we pick up ideas and create them from a clear mind. We have our portable wi-fi, take our laptops and simplify everything else. It’s not quite back to basics but it’s close. 

This month, we were based in Loch Lomond and our next stop is the Welsh mountains. It really does give you a different view on your job. I love the way our set-up offers a different view on life every day.”

“My physical and mental health have begun to flourish”

Angela Paul ditched her unsatisfying day job to set up Bellabambini photography, a vocation that means she’s immersed in the Great Outdoors

“After almost 10 years working in retail, I decided it was time to follow my dream to become a professional photographer. The results that followed have impacted my health and my happiness beyond any hope I held. 

From being stuck indoors with no natural light or air - and not earning nearly enough money for the effort - to now, is such a huge difference.

I do many of my shoots outdoors, among the daffodils and bluebells. Not only do I get to capture some truly amazing moments, but I get to surround myself with nature. This inspires me to exercise more and eat more healthily too. 

The immense change in lifestyle has altered so many things for me. My physical and mental health have begun to flourish. My heart is full and my mind, body and soul are being nourished like I never thought possible. As cheesy as that might sound, it’s true.” 

“We believe the sea air enhances our creativity”

Liz Willingham and her team at Liz Lean PR are based at Sandbanks in Dorset

“We are split between Sandbanks and a base in central London to help us meet with national journalists and clients, but our Dorset office really is a stunning place to work.

Our working view is far from dull and whenever the team can, they enjoy a walk along the beach. We strongly believe the sea air and beach location enhances our creativity and enforces a positive, hardworking mindset.

In the summer, we can hold meetings with clients on the beach and we enjoy treating guests to Rick Stein’s restaurant, which is located underneath our office.

We’ve even been known to have meditation sessions on the beach in our lunch breaks. These things, and the setting (which couldn’t be further from a boring old office) help the team approach a fast-paced PR environment with a mindful balance. I feel that’s crucial in 2017, when working life is more frenetic than ever.”

“I’m never unhappy about coming to work”

Stefan Rae is manager of the Hydro Hotel in the Lake District

“Working at the hotel is a breath of fresh air. There’s not many places where you can look out of the window and experience a panorama like that over Lake Windermere.

And no matter whether the sun is shining or it’s overcast, the views never get old for me – it definitely beats a hotel in a built-up city centre. My employees and I find it refreshing, and it certainly inspires me each day.

I know that in work, for many the outlook might be one of an office or a built-up street, so I feel privileged to work in such a unique environment. I feel it alone keeps me motivated through the day and I can honestly say I’m never unhappy about coming to work.”

“I’ve swapped lunchtime coffee for lunchtime snowboarding”

Jack Hubbard runs his beer delivery service Crafted Crate from the French Alps

“I’m from the UK, but my dream has always been to live in the Alps, and modern technology has enabled me to do exactly that. I’ve moved out here with my family but still keep business moving forward in the UK, be that through Skype meetings, Slack or a simple phone call.

Of course, I’ll still make trips over for face-to-face meetings, but on a daily basis, I don’t know anything that could motivate me more than looking up from my laptop and across the Alps.

This move has also meant that I’ve swapped some lunchtime coffee for some lunchtime snowboarding. Being a business owner means I work at times that suit me best and I feel I’m much more productive for it.

Who said we need to work inside a boring office anyway? It’s a lot more fulfilling to get outdoors through the working day. Having done it now for years, it’s something I could never go back on.”


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.