According to Phil Green, Managing Director, CBS Office Interiors, workplace stress impacts adversely on businesses and organisations. It affects performance and productivity, morale and company culture, and can result in absences, long term sick leave and retention challenges.
While many schemes focus on managing stress and helping individuals cope with the demands of their job, there are other more holistic approaches that can help reduce workplace stress across the company. One such approach is to look at office design and the impact the office environment is having on employees’ health.
Office Design Audit
If you think your office design could do more to reduce workplace stress, conduct an ‘office design audit’ to identify areas where there is room for improvement. These might include:
- Overall ambiance: If employees are feeling the strain then the mood in the office is naturally going to affect the overall ambiance. If the office feels dull, uninspiring and lacks energy, then you have something to work with to create a healthier and happier environment. Colour is one way you can transform an office and also reinforce branding and culture. Wall graphics are also an effective way to achieve this.
- Natural light: Natural light helps us regulate our body clocks and also elevates our mood. Studies show that offices with plenty of natural light have less absenteeism, higher levels of productivity, less illness and happier workers. It is important to ensure that you are using all available light so that filing cabinet that’s partially obscuring a window has to move.
- Office layout: Our bodies are not designed for a sedentary lifestyle and the impact of this has been well documented. Movement and interaction creates a happier workforce, one that encourages collaboration and also offers support through human contact. It also helps to improve focus and re-energise employees, who then return to their desks ready to crack on with their next task.
- Storage: De-cluttering the office can instantly improve employees’ mood and ability to focus on what they do need to do. Therefore, find effective storage that removes paperwork and files from plain sight, and introduce measures to reduce the amount of paper generated in the office.
- Breakout areas: While some employees may leave the office at lunchtime to go to a local café or park, it is really advantageous for the employer to provide an attractive area within the office complex. This can be an important place for staff to unwind with colleagues, talk about their work and get support if they are under pressure, all in a pleasant environment that shows that their employer values them.
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