In the quest to enhance the wellbeing of their workforce, employers might consider an often-overlooked solution: encouraging their staff to indulge in more beach trips. A recent study conducted by the Southampton International Boat Show, on the eve of its 54th year, has illuminated the untapped mental health benefits of seaside retreats, and the potential these hold for employee wellbeing.
While nearly 90% of individuals in the UK acknowledge the positive impact that coastal environments have on their mental health, a surprising statistic has emerged – over two million people have never experienced the therapeutic benefits of recreational visits to the seaside. This revelation points to a significant opportunity for employers to contribute to their employees’ mental wellbeing.
Gen Zs, those aged between 18 and 24, stand out as the demographic most likely to miss out on the potential positive effects of the sea. Alarmingly, 5% of this group admit to never seeking the serotonin boost that the coast can offer.
Analysing geographical disparities, it appears that residents of Aberdeen, Manchester, Sheffield, and Liverpool are among those least likely to partake in seaside recreational activities, potentially depriving themselves of the mental health advantages inherent in such experiences. Conversely, inhabitants of Southampton, Cambridge, and Oxford are more attuned to the benefits of coastal rejuvenation.
The survey delved into the specific attributes of the beach that contribute to these mental health gains. Respondents highlighted sea air, scenic vistas, and the rhythmic crash of waves as the top three contributors to their positive experiences.
Lesley Robinson, the CEO of British Marine, emphasised the profound influence of coastal settings on mental health. She underscored the dual advantages of water-sports for both physical and mental wellness, while also fostering feelings of liberation and exploration. From paddle-boarding and surfing to narrow-boating and sailing, the range of options for enjoying the outdoors and replenishing vitamin D levels is extensive.
In an era where employee wellbeing is an increasingly recognised priority, organisations have a unique chance to advocate for and facilitate experiences that uplift their workforce. Encouraging staff to embrace the beach and its inherent mental health benefits can contribute not only to individual employee wellness but also to a more positive and engaged workplace culture overall.