Improving employee mental health through office space design

Blog
14.06.2023

There is now an increased awareness and recognition of how the workplace impacts employee mental health. Stress can prevent us from entirely focusing and doing our best work, even on our best days. Consequently, employers are increasingly looking for ways to design modern office space that supports good mental health and well-being.

In this blog, we explore four key benefits of the right office space design in employee welfare and provide tips for designing and implementing office spaces that support good mental health.

 

Benefits of office spaces for employee mental health and wellbeing

Belonging is a fundamental human need, and the workplace plays a crucial role in fulfilling that need. When the workplace fosters a sense of belonging, it can be a source of healing rather than a hindrance to our well-being. For many people, the office serves as a space for building a sense of community and connection with others, providing a supportive environment that can promote positive mental health.

A well-designed office space can encourage social interaction, create a sense of community, and provide natural light, all of which can contribute to improved mental health. Here are some of the main benefits that can be achieved with a wellness-centric-designed office space:

 

Promoting social interaction

Social interaction has been shown to reduce the negative impact of stress on mental health. Studies have found that individuals with strong social networks are better equipped to cope with stressful situations and are less likely to experience negative psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, social interaction can promote a sense of belonging and connectedness, linked to improved mental health outcomes. Feeling connected to others and having a sense of community can give people a sense of purpose and meaning in life, improving overall well-being.

Office spaces can be designed to facilitate social interaction in several ways. For example, creating communal areas such as break rooms and collaboration spaces can allow employees to socialise and connect.

 

Creating a sense of community

When employees feel connected to their workplace and colleagues, they are more likely to feel supported and valued. This sense of community can be fostered through the design of the office space. An open layout is an effective way to create a sense of community in the office space. This layout enables employees to interact with each other more freely and fosters a sense of collaboration and teamwork.

Communal areas, such as break rooms and cafes, can provide employees with a space to socialise and connect outside of work-related tasks. These areas can be designed with comfortable seating, tables, and amenities such as coffee machines and microwaves.

 

Providing quiet spaces for focused work

While social interaction and community-building are essential, it is also crucial for employees to have quiet areas for focused work. In today’s fast-paced work environment, employees often face distractions that can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. Well-designed office space provides quiet spaces for focused work by creating designated areas free from distractions and noise.

A quiet space provides employees with a designated area to escape from the noise and interruptions of the open office environment, allowing them to focus on their work and increase their productivity. It also helps employees to recharge and reduce stress levels, promoting a positive work-life balance.

 

Providing natural light

Natural light has been shown to impact mental health positively. Office spaces can create a calming and inviting atmosphere, making employees feel more relaxed and comfortable. This can foster a sense of community by creating a shared environment conducive to collaboration and teamwork.

Incorporating natural elements such as plants and greenery can also promote a sense of calm and relaxation, encouraging social interaction and reducing stress levels.

 

Designing an office space for mental health and wellbeing

Designing an office space that promotes good mental health requires careful consideration of various factors. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It can be as simple as creating a small room with sound-absorbing materials, such as carpets, curtains, or acoustic panels. Ensuring the space is comfortable, well-lit, and equipped with comfortable seating is essential, so employees can relax and work without distractions.

 

Implementing mental health & wellbeing programs in office spaces

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are workplace initiatives that provide employees access to various mental health resources and support services. These programs help employees cope with personal or work-related problems affecting their job performance, productivity, and overall well-being.

EAPs typically offer various mental health services, such as confidential counselling and therapy sessions, which can be provided in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing. Licensed mental health professionals often offer these services and can address various issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, and relationship problems.

 

Conclusion

Promoting social interaction, creating a sense of community, providing natural light, and providing quiet spaces for focused work, office spaces help create a positive and productive work environment. Their design can significantly impact employee mental health and well-being. Employers who prioritise the design of their office spaces can create a workplace that promotes social interaction, makes sense of community, and provides natural light, all of which can contribute to improved mental health and well-being.

By taking these steps, employers can create a workplace that supports the well-being of their employees, leading to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and a happier, healthier workforce.

 

FAQs

 

How can incorporating nature into an office space benefit employee mental health?

Exposure to plants and greenery has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation, increasing job satisfaction. Natural elements can also boost mood and energy levels. Incorporating nature can also enhance air quality and promote physical activity, encouraging employees to take breaks and move around.

 

Can poor ergonomics in an office space impact mental health?

Sitting in uncomfortable chairs, using poorly designed desks or computer equipment, and working in inadequate lighting can lead to physical discomfort and pain. These physical symptoms can contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, affecting job satisfaction and productivity. Also, poor ergonomics can contribute to fatigue and reduced energy levels, negatively impacting mental health.

 

How can open office spaces promote social interaction and improve mental health?

They can do this by encouraging communication and collaboration among coworkers. Open spaces facilitate spontaneous interactions and create community by removing physical barriers like walls and doors. This can lead to increased social support, reduced feelings of isolation, and improved mental well-being. Open office designs can also promote physical activity and movement throughout the day, which can help reduce stress and boost the mood of your team.

 

What are some cost-effective ways to improve the mental health of an office space?

Improving the mental health of an office space doesn’t have to be expensive. Small changes can make a big difference. Encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day to reduce stress and boost productivity.

Create a designated space where employees can relax and recharge, such as a meditation or yoga room. Offer healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, and granola bars. Encourage open communication and create a supportive and positive work culture. Finally, provide resources such as access to mental health professionals or an employee assistance program to help employees cope with stress and improve their mental health.

 

Grade-A Office Space in the Perfect Working Environment

At Farnborough Business Park, we provide grade-A office space in the perfect working environment for switched-on businesses. Our offices have been refurbished to exceptionally high standards and are home to a diverse range of businesses, from start-ups to international headquarters. To learn more, get in touch with us today.