Mental Health Awareness in the WorkplacePublished 26.06.23
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Although it may not be as visible as a broken arm or leg, healthy mental health is vital in the workplace. We all have moments of stress, and some have experiences with anxiety and depression which can result from several factors including family issues, personal difficulties or challenges at work. Employers need to understand how essential it is to support their workforce on an emotional level to take care of their well-being and make the working environment a safe, thriving and productive place to be. This can be achieved with office design and initiatives to make big and small changes.
Do you ever walk into a building and feel uninspired? From bland furniture to dull colours on the wall, it’s surprising how aesthetics can have an effect on how we feel. For many of us, we spend most of our weekdays in the office, therefore having a space that is vibrant and allows us to flourish is key. Let’s start with the basics such as good lighting where our eyes aren’t straining to work, good ventilation for clean air quality and large windows to allow natural daylight into the building. Bringing the outdoors inside with plants also boosts our moods. It’s been proven that they help to reduce stress levels, sharpen attention, enhance productivity and can be therapeutic.
As for the office floor plan itself, look at ways in which you can encourage collaborative working. An office is a place where individuals come together to be creative, discuss new ideas and become a collective team driving the company forward. Break down the silos and form new co-working areas and opportunities for socialising too, so that everyone can embrace a healthier work-life balance. It’s also key to have quiet working spaces for those times employees need to focus and get away from the hustle and bustle. It can open up a chance for quiet reflection. Finally, the quality of the furniture makes a huge difference to our well-being. You don’t want to be sat in an uncomfortable chair or using equipment that is slow and outdated as this can cause more stress – both mentally and physically.
Ways to Help with Mental Health in the Workplace
On top of making improvements to the office environment with renovations and bold paint colours that help to lift our spirits, there are ways employers can assist too. Understanding that good mental health at work is the responsibility of a company as a whole will vastly make a difference to the workforce and how you aim to make changes for the better.
Making Well-being at Work a Priority
Regular exercise is known to improve poor mental health as physical activity releases hormones that make you feel good and can give you more energy. Therefore providing ways in which individuals can increase the amount of exercise they’re doing can help in many ways. If space and budget allows, incorporating gyms or yoga rooms within the workplace that staff can use around their working hours is a great opportunity for employees to increase their endorphins and release any built up stress from the day. Alternatively, encouraging cycle-to-work schemes or a walk at employees lunch breaks are simple ways to encourage activity around the working day.
Provide Confidential Outlets to Talk About Mental Health
If you’re going through a tough time, you may find it difficult to have an honest and open conversation with your peers or your managers. Many companies have now signed up to Employee Assistance Programmes which allows employees to have a confidential chat with an independent person about what is bothering them. From mental health issues to financial troubles, legal issues or bereavement.
Communication is key
Finally, it’s vital to keep the channels of communication open and provide a welcoming space with an open door policy to talk about professional or personal issues, if it’s affecting their working days. It’s important that employees feel comfortable to do so, whether that’s with their managers or a dedicated mental welfare representative in the company who is qualified to assist. They’ll be able to provide avenues to find further support and if the concern is work-related then your HR department can advise further.