It is Mental Health Awareness Week. With 75% of British workers reportedly suffering in silence with mental health issues it is important that companies become more aware of the impact this has on their business and take steps to address it. We spend a third of our waking lives at work, sitting at desks and staring at screens so is it any wonder that as a result serious physical and mental health issues inevitably arise in the workplace.? When you consider that British employers lose an average 30.4 days of productive time per employee, per year due to time off sick or underperforming due to ill health (that’s 6 weeks per employee!) it becomes very clear that it is an issue worth investing in!
In addition to an office culture which encourages open dialogue about mental health issues relatively small considerations in workplace design can make a big impact on employee well-being. So if you are thinking of making some changes it might be worthwhile considering some of the following simple inclusions;
- Recharge Rooms – many companies have started to include these ‘escape from the desk’ areas to provide a space for rejuvenation – whatever form that might take- be it a power nap, meditation or just a space for quiet contemplation.
- Zoned working areas apply your work to your space. Your workplace is designed by creating and fitting together the ideal combination of task specific areas providing the optimal blend of quiet, collaborative, formal, informal, fixed, flexible and functional space for your business. Providing these various working environments gives people the freedom to choose their best suited mode of working and encourages them to move around the office.
- Optimisation of natural light is so important in order that your workforce do not feel deprived of the outdoors! There is nothing more creatively stifling then dingy work areas. Clever design, removal of solid walls and use of glass partitioning allow space to be divided without compromise.
- Biophilia – bringing the outdoors, indoors has been demonstrated to reduce stress, anger and improve mood (a happy worker is a more productive worker). Use of living walls, office plants, even wall graphics and astro turf to create a green space can all brighten the atmosphere and establish a soothing connection with nature.
- Breakout areas should be social! They should provide a relaxed space for open discussion, a chat over a cuppa, an informal ‘at home’ area for creative thought and ideas. More and more companies are introducing ping-pong tables and beer fridges to their break-out areas in order to encourage staff interaction and bring an element of fun into down-time.
Creating an office environment which is conducive to good mental health is beneficial not only to staff but also to productivity, A happier, more confident workforce will perform better – and that’s a worthwhile investment!
For help with your office design including all things fit-out, refurbishment and office furniture call us. We would be delighted to be of assistance.