As we reach the end of September and our summer holidays start to feel like a distant memory, many people find that their attention shift from the sun; beaches and palm trees, to worrying about an inbox full of emails; tasks to catch up on and projects with deadlines that are just days away. If this all sounds too familiar, it may not come to any surprise to hear that an analysis of Google search data by Bupa, has revealed that the volume of Google searches around the issues of ‘workplace stress’ spikes up from September onward.
A recent survey on work-related stress, anxiety, and depression (the Labour Force Survey 2016) found that 11.7 million days were lost in 2016 alone due to stress-related issues.
In an ‘always-on’ culture, employees are finding it hard to keep up with daily work demands, whilst trying to find a healthy work-life balance. If a workplace doesn’t provide a range of spaces to suit the requirements of different tasks – interruptions, distractions and frustrations can be added to the list of stresses!
A workspace designed with the employees’ needs in mind can create a healthier, less stressful environment and improve the experience (and engagement levels) at work. The work environment can also be used to inspire innovative ways of thinking and encourage creativity.
“When people are in environments that support positive emotions, they’re free to be productive, collaborative and creative,” says Beatriz Arantes, senior researcher for Steelcase WorkSpace Futures.
Here are our tips for helping to manage stress in your workplace…
- Where do I need to work? – By creating a range of spaces that are suited to the type of work taking place, employees gain choice and control. Try creating spaces for quiet focused work as well as spaces for collaborative work that support idea generation and sharing.
2. Time for a break – No one can do their best work when they are stressed or tired. By creating spaces that support and encourage breaks away from the desk, workers can arrive back rejuvenated and refreshed.
3. Feel at home – Encourage employees to feel comfortable and at ease when carrying out work by allowing them to display personal items at their desk. Even by simply adding a plant within the space makes people happier and productive. The home office trend and biophilia is very popular this year, and we expect to see this continue into 2018.
4. Be a part of the team – Provide social spaces that encourage personal and professional connections and enable employees to connect socially. Ensuring the space is easily accessible to for all teams around the workspace.
5. Connect and collaborate – Accommodate for both office-based and mobile workers by creating a variety of settings for both physical and virtual collaboration. Video conferencing is perfect for collaborating with teams in different geographical areas and allows for screen sharing. Add digital signage around the workspace to display the latest company news. Onelan is ideal for this as it can display information to visitors/customers via images, video and text.
6. Keep moving – Create a range of spaces that offer posture choices (sitting, standing, leaning, and lounging) encourage walking to create physical and emotional energy. Sit-stand desks are a great way to keep workers moving, while also stimulating the mind which in turn improves alertness and focus.