Ready to reflect, reconnect, and restore employee wellbeing?

Posted in News on 4th September 2020


Recently, I shared a blog about how we’re killing COVID-19 related workplace anxiety at the elbowroom escape. In it, I hinted at how some leadership teams are using our space here to host COVID-19 secure off-site planning sessions. Today, I’ll drill down into how spending time together in nature helps teams address mental health and well-being issues and sets them up to take their organisation forward to the restoration stage of crisis management.

the elbowroom escape corporate

We’re beginning to welcome our first corporate guests back to the elbowroom escape since lockdown. In meeting here to plan the reintegration stage of their COVID-19 recovery plan, I am confident they will be setting themselves up well for the next stage, the restoration phase too.

What is the restoration phase?

According to one crisis management theory, there are three stages to managing crises: response; reintegration and restoration. The final phase, restoration, often sees people wanting things back to how they were, no matter how bad that was.

Psychologists explain this in terms of our fight, flight or freeze response. In essence, as a species, when presented with a threat, we’re programmed to fight, fly or freeze. Whichever route we take, often our next response is to lean towards certainty and away from risk because, well, who doesn’t want to feel safe?

Good leaders are able to take people beyond the fear of uncertainty by framing what is possible. Helping teams to envisage new possibilities though, takes dedicated skill, time and space. Ample supplies of all are available here.

Where does nature fit into the restoration phase of crisis management?

Screen-free time; the forgotten art of conversation; realising your colleagues are real people with whom you have (and will) share(d) real experiences: the benefits of escaping to recharge are many.

Won’t go on here, after all, we all have personal experience of how being in nature is beneficial in creating headspace. Just take a moment to reflect on your own experience before reading on.


By enabling your teams to reconnect with nature, to share real-life experiences as opposed to virtual experiences, you really can serve a wider purpose. You can help colleagues, co-create their future, rather than revert to their shared past because it feels ‘safe’.

Doing so at a venue like the elbowroom escape offers opportunities to benefit from forest bathing, wide-open spaces, exercise, fresh healthy food, and to slow down for a wee while in order to speed up for a long while.

Read on …

Forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku)

Forest bathing is something that visitors to the elbowroom escape do, without even realising they are doing it. In Japan Shinrin-yoku, which translates literally as ‘forest bath’, has been popular since the 1980s, although people had been taking walks in the forests for centuries beforehand. It became popular because new studies showed such activity could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol (the stress hormone) and improve concentration and memory.

If you want to know more about the science behind this, take a look at this research paper, published as recently as June 2019, on the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing on working age people with and without depressive tendencies.

To summarise: the conclusion was that the overall physiological and psychological effects of spending a day-long session forest bathing on a working-age group were significantly positive, especially in those with depressive tendencies.

Open spaces

As well as miles of woodland, we have mountains. In fact, overall, we offer enough open space to mean we do not have to resort to yellow and black tape to mark safe distances here.

We do, of course, offer medical level hygiene to ensure COVID-19 compliance. Rest assured though that we do so without it negatively impacting the luxury element of your stay, or the healthy, locally sourced cuisine for which we are known.

Meeting as a work team, off-site, somewhere where there is this amount of space, make envisioning your ‘new now’ easier. If you want to lead your team to frame what’s possible – this space really is a very powerful enabler.

Exercise and fresh food

I have written of the importance of exercise and healthy eating in building a resilient workforce before, but if ever there was a time to work on resilience, it is now.

To briefly recap, encouraging employees to take physical exercise throughout the day and to eat for energy can be really effective in boosting their resilience. We showcase how to do this here. Guests inevitably leave wanting to keep it up.

Slow down to speed up

Hosting an executive retreat, teambuilding event, springboard meeting or even a staff appreciation event here ensures you will create a safe place where your people can slow down in order to speed up.

Team members get to take stock, feel re-energised by a forest or mountain hike, take a dip in our hot tubs or enjoy one of the many other activities we can lay on. By investing in their wellbeing in this way, they themselves become more enlightened and committed to investing in their own personal mental health. This, of course, has a knock-on effect on their productivity at work.

Ready to reflect, reconnect and restore employee wellbeing?

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