Ensuring Your Workplace Design Positively Influences Employees’ Mental Health and Wellbeing

We are seeing a growing emphasis being placed on the wellness and good mental health of employees. More and more, businesses are seeing the benefits of having a happy and healthy workforce in terms of employee retention, motivation, and production. There are many factors that are involved in looking after your employees’ mental health and one of them is the actual design and layout of your workspace.

Research shows that of people who work outside the home, about 33% of their waking hours in life are spent at their place of work. It, therefore, follows that the place that they are working in, the environment, its design, and how it makes employees feel, can have a massive impact on their everyday lives. And research shows that there is a strong link between the design of the workplace and its employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

With the productivity and performance of a workforce being directly linked to their health and well-being – both physically and mentally, it is, therefore, essential that businesses do what they can to build a happy, healthy workforce. And this can be partly done by ensuring that the design of your commercial property is conducive to your employees’ mental well-being.

Air Quality, Natural Daylight, and Other Lighting

We often hear about how the quality of the air that is being breathed is important to the productivity of employees, but so is lighting. Bad air quality and inadequate lighting can be depressing and cause physical issues such as headaches and tiredness, consequently having a detrimental effect on employees’ mental health. In addition to this, natural light can boost Vitamin D which can also be beneficial to mental health.

In addition to designing a building to have good air quality with plenty of ventilation, and as much natural or good quality light as possible, you should also consider finding a commercial property that has an outside area or is located close to an open space such as a park where employees can get outside. Some European countries actually mandate that businesses provide a work area that is within a certain distance of an adequate window. This is also something that you could consider, or perhaps think about placing those with the most stressful jobs as close to the window as possible.

Biophilic design can be used to help to make sure that you have good quality, clean air, with a reduced transmission of airborne pathogens – which is also great for your employees’ physical health.

Interior Decoration Colours

Colours might seem to be relatively trivial in the workplace. Many employers decide that they should use their branding colours for the interior decoration to help to build the brand identity amongst employees. This may not, however, be the most effective way to use colour in the workplace. Colour can have a massive impact on your employees’ mental health.

Different colours can affect the way that light is processed within the body, and different colours can trigger the release of different hormones, leading to changing our emotions and mood.

One of the best colours to use in the workplace is green. It is a calming colour, mood enhancer and can be used effectively to help to reduce stress – perfect for the workplace. In addition to paint or furniture, green plants can also have a similar effect as well as help to improve air quality, and make the place look nicer and more welcoming!

As well as plants, other hints of nature inside – wooden or rock materials can have a calming and destressing effect. You could consider wooden flooring, panelling, or furniture, for example. You could also consider having some sort of water feature as this can have a similar effect.

Workplace Culture, Collaboration, and the Benefits of Being Alone

The way that we are using our workspaces is changing. Since the rise in working from home, or working part-time from home, we are seeing more and more businesses using their own premises mainly as a collaboration space. It is where creatives get together to debate new ideas, where employees can get together to update each other on projects, or where newer staff can shadow more experienced workers to learn their trade.

Ensuring that the design of the workspace is conducive to this collaborative working is essential (depending on the nature of your business). However, it is also important that employees are given the opportunity for some alone time as well. Ensuring that employees have the time and space to develop themselves and put into practice what they have learnt. Some employees need a more secluded space, where they can concentrate and isolate themselves away from other staff.

It is important that the design of your workspace – such as open plan, collaborative, individual sections, and break-out areas, for example – match the way that your employees are using the space. Failure to do so can lead to frustration and irritation in the workplace – both between your staff in general, but also between your employees and the business.

Creating a Community

One area that is often missed when businesses are designing their workspaces in their commercial properties, is the need to create and build a community among the employees. This might not be your highest priority but giving employees the chance to feel part of a community at work is a great way to boost productivity and build motivation.

Employees want to be proud of who they work for, and they want to work for each other. There are several ways that this can be done, and the design of the workspace is an important factor. You need to be able to provide places where employees can get to know each other and build relationships, as well as give them the chance to work well – and actually meet each other, perhaps by creating social areas.

Final Thoughts

Creating a well-designed, well-balanced, healthy workplace is the best way to create a well-balanced, healthy team of employees. With the basics such as good air quality, lighting, and temperature, you can go on to create a space that your employees are proud of and want to be productive in.

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