Reduce workplace stress with clever office design

18 January 2016. Feature.

We are proud to support the mental health charity Mind as our partner charity in 2016. That is why we’ve created a little blog about how we can reduce stress in the workplace. We hope you find our blog helpful…

Everyone suffers from stress occasionally, but recent labour force statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that in 2014/15, workplace stress “accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases” which is equal to a staggering loss of 9.9 million working days.

As an employer, it’s not always possible to reduce stressful workloads or roles, but you can support your employees by creating an office environment that improves feelings of wellbeing.

We asked our workplace designers here at Peldon Rose to share some of their tips for reducing stress workplace:

Lighting

Our bodies need regulated serotonin levels and natural light in order to function well. These help promote healthy sleep patterns, learning, information recall, mental alertness and a general good mood. Importantly, it also helps us to prevent the onset of depression, anxiety and stress.

Workspaces should be flooded with as much natural light as possible by replacing any solid walls or partitions with glass or, where possible, remove them to create an open-plan office interior. If this is not possible, try substituting it with artificial daylight or full spectrum light bulbs.

Companies should also encourage conscientious employees to take breaks and step outside for an unfiltered dose of daylight at lunchtimes or even meetings if possible.    

Greenery

Adding some plants is a great way to brighten up an office but their benefits go much further. Studies show that they help improve office air quality and limit noise pollution and can actually reduce tension, depression, anxiety and fatigue by 37- 58%.

Plants like Areca and Kentia Palms or Dragon Trees are large, easy-care and perfect for the office, adding colour, interest and functionally dividing up work areas.

Relaxing Areas

There is a new era of trust upon us in the workplace in offices such as JustGiving and this era is helping inspire workers and remove stress. Wherever possible, companies should create specific work zones so their personnel can find a quiet spot away from their desk to focus or a purposeful space to collaborate in. But don’t forget to give them the tools and technology so they are able to work effectively!

Everyone will benefit from staff taking a break so designate a calm, relaxing space for them to retreat to so they can refresh their minds and de-stress.

Exercise

Getting active and regular exercise is one of the best remedies for stress and you’ll probably benefit from healthier more motivated, more sociable staff too.

If you are able to free up additional space in your office, some companies, such as Knightsbridge-based, Sonangol, can incorporate gym equipment and showers into the work space so employees can work out or simply freshen up. If you don’t have the space, encourage personnel to be more active by installing standing meeting tables or sit-stand desks.

Other initiatives might sound dull, but trust us they work! Centralise refreshment, printing and recycling points to encourage people to leave their desks and walk around. It’s great exercise, but more importantly they create opportunities for social interaction which can also help relieve feelings of isolation and stress.

Colours

You wouldn’t expect the film Pretty Woman to be quoted in a blog about office design, but when Vivian said “Well color me happy, there's a sofa in here for two” she was on to something…

There are numerous studies which show how colour positively impacts the way we feel. Bright colours such as red, orange and yellow can boost creativity but too much of them can actually contribute to feelings of stress. Alternatively, use a soothing colour palette of neutral creams, greys or muted pastel tones and then bring out the brighter colours for your office accessories and company branding.

We’d love to share some more tips with you, so please feel free give us a call when you have time.

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