Supporting mental health in the workplace

Mental health in the workplace, in particular work-related stress, has a huge impact not only on individuals and the companies for whom they work, but also our entire society. Research from the OECD found that the cost to the UK due to mental health issues sits at a staggering £70 billion a year, translating at 4.5 percent of GDP.

In fact, work related stress is the second most commonly reported cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain. This leads to an alarming 45% of all working days lost to poor health, or sick leave.

For small companies in particular losing these precious working days can impact annual revenue and customer satisfaction. Investing in the right working environment can play a huge part in the overall success of a business, with a more productive and happy workforce leading to better work and happier clients.

So what can your business do to incorporate comfort and productivity into the office?

The fact is offices have changed over the last decade, with a new wave of employees and different office needs. With this in mind, we’ve included four small changes your business could do to help bring a more positive and productive office.

1. Move

Creating an office environment that allows its employees the chance to walk around, take 5 minutes to de-stress and get their thoughts together can make all the difference when it comes to office mentality.  By utilising standing desks, or simply encouraging your employees to take a walk outside if needed can produce some impressive results. In fact, just 30 minutes of walking per day can reduce stress and boost the mood of your employees.

2. Allow for personalised spaces

Office layouts can be bland and corporate for many firms. In this environment, many employees can stagnate with their work and creative ideas, leading to an unhappy and unproductive workforce.

To help with this, companies should think about allowing employees to customise their workspace to include things like family photos, bright colours or even different chairs or cushions. By empowering your employees to be themselves you can start to build an office community, instead of merely an office space.

3. Open Areas

Designing an office that allows your employees to have fun can be a great stress reliever, from installing a table tennis in the breakout room, to incorporating open space working areas for employees who thrive in a communal setting. The main thing to understand is that not every employee is the same, and by allowing your employees to find the best way to work for them means your company will get the best out of their workforce.

4. Aesthetics

It’s the little things that tend to make the biggest difference when it comes to happiness and wellbeing. Allowing natural light, bright colours and greenery throughout your office can induce a state of focus, concentration and relaxation within your team. By making these small changes, your staff could begin to feel more focused, relaxed and motivated.

The ability to understand your team, and allow them to find the best way to work can make your office happier and more productive in the long term. Get rid of the rigid rules, and create an environment that cultivates and nurtures work, as opposed to one that enforces and demands it.

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