Frequently asked questions
We work with individuals and teams to help them achieve their goals and desired outcomes. Whenever possible we prefer to do this outside, working in and with nature.
We are based on the Essex-Suffolk border, and our open programme takes place in this region. For work with teams and organisations, we can work almost anywhere in the UK. This means our office is always changing and can be field, farmland, beach or hill.
There are huge benefits to being outside. Conversations are richer and deeper and many find this a hugely valuable way to discuss difficult issues and reconnect, particularly after spending so much time apart during the pandemic.
Working from home, which has been positive for so many, does mean that our working interactions tend to be much more transactional. We move from one online meeting to the next with very little time, if any, to connect on a human level.
We find that many of our clients already enjoy and incorporate time outside into their own time because it refreshes and recharges them. Thinking Outside believe you can incorporate time outside into your regular working week both for yourself and the teams you work with or manage.
If you have neurodiverse people in your teams working outside is also hugely beneficial for them as in offices or meeting rooms it can be harder for them to feel comfortable and contribute.
Not at all. We tend towards using gentle landscapes that connect with the clients we work with (whilst acknowledging some people enjoy a challenging climb or activity).
We can work (almost) anywhere but we are conscious of making sure our walks and events are accessible and enjoyable. Working with us does not include high ropes, adrenalin, white water, survival or forest skills. These have their place. However, working with us is focused on walking and talking, to build deep and lasting connections and to get the outcomes you’re looking for.
We advise checking the weather forecast ahead of time and coming prepared. Depending on the venue trainers or comfortable walking shoes are usually appropriate. We do operate all year round on the basis that with a coat and a can do attitude anything is possible! In the colder, wetter months we would typically have an inside space as an alternative for at least part of the day. In the summer it might be shade and suncream but we would communicate with clients about what is most suitable. We can work with clients to suggest the best venue for what you are looking to achieve.
We work with a team or individual to understand their goals and what they are looking to get out of an event. It might be that you want time to reconnect in person after working from home or you may have some issues that need to be resolved. Some clients might want to make this a regular session to reconnect and have time away from the office, screens and usual distractions. Some clients and commissioning managers find the landscape provides metaphors for the key messages or issues they wish to share and discuss with their team.
We can either suggest a venue or work with the client in their chosen outside space. To date we have worked in local parks, forests, National and Wildlife Trust sites, in the Malvern Hills and in The Peak District National Park.
We visit each site to do a risk assessment and work out how the day or event will flow, where particular questions and prompts might be asked. However, we aren’t rigid in our approach and can manage what the day and event might bring.
As far as possible, yes. When we are working with an organisational group, we ensure that the venue chosen meets the needs of those attending. We’re also finding that this way of working is particularly good for indivuals who are neurodiverse.
For our open programmes, we are clear about the terrain and what you can expect. Many of the sites we use are accessible to those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters, and all are welcome. If you have any concerns or specific queries, please get in touch.
Why go outside?
There is so much evidence to support the benefits of being outside, including taking your work or Thinking Outside. Here are just a few:
- Being in nature, unplugged from multi media, can increase creativity by up to 50% and improves cognitive functioning and mental well-being
- Walking and spending time in nature can improve memory by up to 20%
- Exercise in a natural environment improves mood and self esteem and is more restorative than exercise in an urban environment
- Connection with nature and time in nature can lead to more ethical and environmentally aware decision making which benefits us all
- When immersed in a natural environment people report feeling more connected to and more considerate and generous towards others
- Time in nature is a natural destressor as it reduces pulse rates, blood pressure and cortisol levels. It also boosts the immune system and so has a positive impact on absence and illness rates