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March 27, 2017

Welcome Spring!

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Spring is here! And for many of us, particularly those who experience a significant decrease in daylight and drops in temperatures, Spring’s arrival is a welcome respite from months of extensive time indoors and less sunlight. Remote and flexible hour workers are primed to capitalize on this flexibility to enjoy Spring’s gift of warmer temperatures, growing daylight, and ample opportunities to enjoy nature and time outside, which according to some studies “revs up mood and makes us more mentally sharp and open-minded.” Citing the oppressive amount – 93 percent – of their time that people in industrialized nations spend indoors, the studies contend that the psychological benefits of springtime are to be found in getting outside and boosting everything from our disposition, to energy and insightfulness.

These same studies show more than just the benefit getting outside and savoring Spring promises—elevated mood and open-mindedness—but they actually show that it’s detrimental to stay inside during Spring in the same way that we do in Winter: “People who spent their time indoors, though, had the opposite effect, and ‘one possible explanation for this result is that people consciously resent being cooped up indoors when the weather is pleasant in the spring.’” Thankfully, working remotely and with flexible working hours means wahves can stop being cooped up, head outside, and reap all the benefits that Spring has to offer.

Spring is of course the season associated with newness and life—as shoots burst through the ground, buds sprout green on tree limbs, birds return from their wintering, and all shapes and size of animals birth their new young and continue the cycle of life. With the joy and anticipation of greater sunlight, warmth, and abundant signs of vitality, Spring is a time in which many of us feel inspired, invigorated and cheered. Studies corroborate this long legacy of Spring as a season of optimism and liveliness – “across the studies, spending more time outside on clear, sunny days, particularly in the spring, was found to increase mood, memory, and openness to new ideas.”

It’s Robert Frost who wrote “Spring is the mischief in me” in his poem “Mending Wall,” in which the speaker steps outside one Spring morning, walking the thawing loamy ground, and reflecting on how Spring’s arrival spurs in him a desire to make mischief–to challenge old notions of wall building and neighborliness, and to, perhaps, push himself to think differently and convince his neighbor to do so as well. It’s a poem that perfectly captures the sentiment and promise of Spring—the propensity to look outside ourselves after a long dark Winter, to open our minds, sharpen, invigorate and hopefully grow.

For those in the working world, the benefit of greater open-mindedness and increased mood promises benefits personal as well as professional, to both employee and employer alike. Wahves know firsthand how beneficial and rewarding it is to have both fulfilling, engaging work, and also the flexibility to step away from it, get outside, and invigorate and recharge outside the home office. Here’s to celebrating just another benefit and wisdom of flexible, remote working—the opportunity, as we welcome Spring, to step outside, breathe deep, and open ourselves to new ideas, innovation, and potential.

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