Marketing guru and writer-photographer, Lauren Psyk, came to a Leading with Purpose campfire catalyst session. She wasn't expecting it to be so powerful. This is her story.
photo of Lauren Psyk by Saskia Nelson.
In my twenties, I was attracted by the bright lights of London and had ‘trendy’ marketing jobs with media organisations.
From an outside perspective I had what every young professional wants - I worked on partnerships with music and media brands, I got to go to glamorous events and trendy media industry parties and I had a decent enough salary to enjoy the London life.
Back then, nobody talked about millennials, the buzz word at the time was urbanites - and I was living the stereotypical urbanite life; work hard, play hard, spend hard.
Lack of purpose
But despite my initial excitement, within a couple of years it became clear to me that I had set off on the wrong path. Neither my job nor my lifestyle were going to make me happy or give me any sense of fulfilment. Life and work felt meaningless, empty and vacuous - essentially I was lacking any sense of purpose.
So I quit the media life and went to work in Government communications, on a THINK! road safety advertising campaign aimed at reducing deaths and injuries amongst motorcyclists.
My work had meaning and I felt fulfilled. I got a huge sense of achievement from the fact I was doing something with purpose, and which had a positive impact.
Eventually I left London to seek a healthier and more balanced lifestyle by the sea here in Brighton, and I started designing a career that fits around my needs and values.
More recently, I have worked a lot in the charity sector and on projects which give me creative freedom. But purpose, and doing work which has a positive impact is still a core part of what drives me.
Biophilic design is the new trend for bringing nature into the design of your home and workspaces. These 3 plants are the best for your office, says interior designer Chloe Bullock
l first learnt about biophilia whilst watching Biophilic Design – the Architecture of Life. It’s a film about the overwhelming benefits of buildings that connect people and nature: hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbours, and where families thrive.
I loved it. It all made so much sense.
There’s lots of research that shows we need nature at a deep and fundamental level, but our cities and buildings are often designed in ways that diminish the environment, and alienate us from the natural world. Biophilic design, in contrast, shows the way toward creating healthy and productive habitats in a modern way.
Biophilia itself means the human need for connection to nature - the idea that we possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
Spending time in nature with your team is a powerful way to boost your workplace culture and employee wellbeing, and has a dramatic effect on creative thinking and team cohesion, says Liz Naven
In the past few years, culture change and workplace wellbeing have become staples of the modern office. Prompted by research demonstrating the inextricable link between employee happiness and productivity, organisations are placing serious attention on initiatives to improve employees’ experience at work, inspired by forward-thinking companies such as Google and Zappos.
Although your company may not have a budget as large as these tech giants, chances are you're looking to replicate the same positive company culture with practical alternatives that make work a positive experience for all, with a consequent impact on your bottom line.
Leadership and team development programmes, combined with flexible working hours, on-site massage and fitness classes, and duvet days are just some of the perks you might already be offering in a bid to increase employee happiness, engagement, and productivity.
The results are usually worth the effort: organisations who get culture right, combined with properly-designed wellness programmes enjoy large financial returns, amongst other competitive advantages. For example, according to research from Harvard Business Review, Johnson & Johnson's wellness programs cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs, with a return of $2.71 for every $2 spent, between 2002 to 2008.
Yet are you overlooking the most effective activity to transform culture and wellbeing? To create a positive workforce full of high-performing employees, you may just need to send your team outdoors.
Being outdoors in nature has a dramatic range of benefits, for both physical and mental health. Time spent outdoors boosts mood and energy, improves attention and encourages connection and community.
If your business aims to put culture first, wants to prioritise the wellbeing of your employees, and improve workplace productivity, getting your teams to spend time in nature as part of their working life can be a vital piece of the process.
Here’s 6 reasons why taking your team outdoors is good for business:
Using fire and whittling to support a campfire conversation during a horizon scanning event for the Academy of Medical Science. A shiver runs down my spine when a cancer research fellow brings up the issue of being integrated humans and the need to be more connected with nature, and the effect of environmental factors on health, such as todays news of microplastics in bottles of water.
Find out more about our away days and outdoor programmes for teams and organisations here.
Talking about the future of Alzheimers and cancer research casts long shadows. The start of horizon scanning with the Academy of Medical Science.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.