5 Ways Workspace Design Can Improve Mental Health 

One-third of every working adult’s life is spent in the workspace. No matter how much you aim to maintain a balance between your work and personal life, spending 40 or more hours each week working will have effects on your mental, emotional, and physical health outside of it. Many adults find that they dread going to work, and cite spending less personal time as a major reason for feelings of depression, anxiety, and general unhappiness.

As the COVID-19 pandemic allowed for flexibility in the workplace and reinforced the idea of wellness and compassion amongst coworkers, many employers are getting into a mindset where they understand that an office should be a place that aims to improve mental health, not hinder it. Employees’ mental and emotional well-being is a crucial component for productivity and success rates during work, and one major factor that can influence this is the way the workspace looks and functions. If you are an employer whose workspace is a traditional office with cubicles, uncomfortable computer chairs, LED lighting, etc., it is likely that your office is a dreary place for your team to spend their time.

Here are a few ways to liven up your workspace in a way that will promote the wellbeing of your employees.

elements of nature

Studies show that visual elements of nature are shown to reduce stress and anxiety and improve one’s mood. Natural sunlight has many impacts on serotonin levels and overall mental health and wellness, so ditching harsh LED lights in favour of some large windows that remain open during the workday can be an instant mood booster for you and your team. If natural lighting is not an option due to the external structure of your building or if you live in a climate where the winter brings shorter daylight hours or frequent dreary weather, opting for circadian lighting that mimics the natural look of sunlight throughout different points of the day can have a similar effect. Other aspects of nature such as plants or flowers around your workspace adds a decorative touch and are shown to have mood-boosting effects as well.

bespoke spaces

No matter how large or small your team is, it is likely made up of a diverse range of individuals that have different needs in the workplace. Workspaces should not be a one-size-fits-all; what works in boosting productivity and motivation in one employee might not work for others. Helping creating a workspace that allows for greater flexibility in the ways in which they work is a way to boost their productivity rates while showing them that you value their needs. Open plan offices can help some employees work more efficiently, as they might need to work around others and have easy access to communication or collaboration. Other employees, however, might find it easier to concentrate in a more private space away from distraction and noise. Also, to help your team stay motivated and on their feet (literally) when working, create some options that allow for movement around the office. One of the easiest ways to do this is by placing some standing desks around the office that employees can use freely.

kitchen upgrade

Many offices include a kitchen with a basic coffee maker, fridge, and microwave to prepare lunch. Investing in some new appliances and keeping the kitchen stocked with employee favourites is a great way to show your team you care while giving them access to useful tools that will boost their mood, energy, and productivity. Making your kitchen a space that is both functional and personalised for employees will boost morale around the office, and the boost you see in productivity will help your company’s success rates soar.

Still working from home?

Whether you are still working remotely or just on occasion, all of these options can be applied to your home office space too to boost productivity throughout the day. Working at a standing desk, adding a pop of colour with decoration that matches the rest of your home, or putting a plant on your desk are simple ways to make your home office a little less dreary. Additionally, you could try time management techniques and tools like productivity apps to help you stay organised and avoid stress, which is the number one way to improve your mental health while working remotely.

Seeking to improve your business by improving your team’s quality of life both in and out of the workplace will not only generate higher success and productivity rates for your company but will improve morale around the office and lead to the long-term happiness of yourself and your entire team.

Author: Chans Weber – CEO, Agile & Co.

Photo credit: Mikey Harris on Unsplash

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