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14th Jul 2017

Do you want to work outside?

David Elliott

Vitamin D.

Did you ever think the essential element which helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body (a description which is quite clearly lifted from a quick search of Google rather than an innate recollection of A Level biology) would influence your job choice?

No, neither did I, but then again I don’t always pay complete attention to all of the surveys and reports which come into my inbox.

This one, however, raised an eyebrow.

In this column last week we were singing the praises of the financial services sector but today’s press release might make you think twice.

“Financial services workers spend the least amount of time outside than any other industry and are potentially at risk of vitamin D deficiency, spending just 34 minutes outdoors during a day,” it warned.

Apparently bankers, accountants and bookkeepers and are amongst the UK’s most outdoor-starved job roles.

“You don’t say,” I hear you cry, “Next you’ll be telling me that builders are at the other end of the scale.”

Well they are, our survey says, spending 303 minutes a day outside.

And in case you were wondering - and haven’t stopped reading already - healthcare workers spend 48 minutes outside, information technology professionals 52 minutes, retail employees 71 minutes and hospitality professionals 88 minutes and make up the second, third, fourth and fifth places.

Now, as with all information we get these days, particularly in light of the rise of fake news, it’s worth checking who commissioned the survey.

In this case it’s won’t come as much surprise to learn that outdoor furniture “e-tailer” Alfresia.co.uk is the source, and of course it’s in their interest to get you wanting to spend your time outside.

They claim to have surveyed 2,000 workers from all professions who also told them – shockingly – that being outside was a good thing.

It said 64% of people surveyed said the amount of time they spend outdoors during the working week “affected their mood”.

I bet it does.

Speak to any builder on a wet Tuesday in January and they’ll tell you that their mood has been impacted by the weather.

Maybe they meant to say that being outside was good for your mood, it’s difficult to tell, but they go on to say that over one third of people “said the amount of time they spent outdoors was a factor when applying for jobs”.

Again, you don’t say.

Whatever the survey is trying to say, it’s difficult to argue with the assertion that an outside job certainly has its attractions, particularly during the summer months when it’s much more pleasant being out in the sunshine that in the sweaty confines of an office.

But maybe the good people of Alfresia need to take into consideration Northern Ireland’s rather more volatile weather which makes outdoor work a little more challenging for nine months of the year.

Most of the time those financial services people will be looking out of their rain-soaked windows from their lovely warm offices and laughing at the soaking outdoor furniture.

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