How Your Office Setup May Affect Your Mental Health
December 13, 2021
Cubicle-ridden offices are no longer in style. In fact, research shows that these offices can affect mental wellbeing. Today, creating open spaces that do not allow personal space for executives is becoming more popular. The more well-designed an office is, the higher are the chances of your team working efficiently and having greater job satisfaction. When employees do well at their jobs, they feel good about themselves, and their mental health remains intact.
When employees are provided with a working environment, they must feel that their employers care about them. This will help employees believe that they are cared for and valued and are not just slaves in the corporate world. Did you know that 49 percent of lost working days are caused by stress and anxiety? A good office setup can reduce absenteeism caused by stress.
Here is how your office setup can affect your mental health:
Layout and Space
The office layout will directly affect the productivity and job wellbeing of employees. Working spaces, breakout spaces, and collaboration zones must be suitable enough to ensure productive working, regardless of the task on hand.
For example, if not set up to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of work, a factory floor would cause a lot of problems for the employees. This would affect their mental health, wellbeing, morale, and of course, productivity.
To ensure that a workplace is suitable to the needs of employers, employers should make use of a workplace efficiency analysis. Any consultancy service should be able to help the higher-ups understand the workings of office space and give them tips on how to unlock the ultimate potential of the office setup.
Colors and Lighting
The amount and quality of light and the colors used in a workspace will affect the mental health of employees. Loads of research have suggested that daylight helps boost mental health, especially due to the way the light subtly keeps changing. When the sun is bright, employees can get their daily dose of vitamin D. According to studies conducted, daylight enhances concentration levels, as well as the levels of the hormone serotonin. Together, this helps employees feel happier and more energetic.
Moreover, colors used in an environment can largely affect productivity and mood in a number of ways. For example, yellow rooms have been reported to make people feel more on edge and short-tempered, while blue and green spaces help people feel calmer and more at ease.
The air quality in an office setup may also affect your mental health and wellbeing. If employees are taking in air from an environment that is stuffy and suffocating, they will not be able to concentrate and will start to feel drowsier at work. Air pollutants come from a number of sources indoors, including furniture and air fresheners.
Your office setup should have a functioning air conditioning system that is monitored and services regularly. This will ensure that the air indoors is clean at all times. Moreover, employees should be asked to take a break every now and then so that they can go outdoors. The air outdoors can be clean and is a nice change of space for employees who have been indoors for too long.
A workplace should always have additional facilities set out for its employees. Even though employees are expected to work, and their productivity is always measured, creating a space for them to unwind is necessary as well. They must have a designated area where they can interact with each other and play games or simply make a cup of coffee or tea while getting to know other members of the team.
Loads of companies all over the world offer numerous perks to their workers. These include a table tennis table, TV lounge, coffee machine, discounts on gym memberships, and so on. All these small advantages and perks help employees feel valued at the company, affecting their mental health and making them feel happier.
Collaboration and Teamwork
An office setup should be designed in a way to boost collaboration and teamwork. This means that there should be specific meeting areas and spaces available that boost human interaction. One way to do this is to have an open office space with standing desks so that employees can take a break from sitting for extended periods. Did you know that employees who spend hours at their desk jobs develop back pain and posture issues? Adjustable desks help solve this problem significantly.
Offices all over the world are ditching the conventional office setup and are instead turning to open, collaborative spaces to encourage interaction. After all, humans are wired to interact with each other. We need company so that we can survive psychologically. According to a study, businesses that have effective collaboration and communication have 50 percent higher chances of a low employee turnover.
Adaptability and Flexibility
An office setup must be adaptive enough to meet the needs of employees. The two most important factors to consider are ownership of the workplace and choice of environment. These two will help employees feel like they have a higher level of control in their workplace. After all, you wouldn't want to spend 9-hours at the workplace, for years at a stretch, only to feel like it is not yours and that you are being controlled by people who do not care about your mental health.
Movable office partitions, rising desks, open workspaces, and flexible environments increase the functionality of a workplace and allow people to work based on their individual needs.
Your office layout should be built in a way that noise does not travel through the space. Constant noise from machines, speech, and telephones can largely impact the mental health of employees as they become more distracted, losing focus from their tasks. This, in turn, causes a drop in productivity, which gets them in trouble with their bosses. Studies have shown that excessive noise leads to a drop in cognitive performance, as well as stress, fatigue, and headache.
To ensure that employees' mental health stays intact, employers should consider the layout of the space. Even though conventional work cubicles are outdated, open offices can be extremely noisy. Hence, it is best to create a space with a mix of cubicles, private offices, barriers, and open spaces. Carpets help absorb noise and should hence be used around the office. Moreover, white noise machines are also a wonderful option in today's day and age.
To ensure that an office setup positively affects employees' mental health, employers should provide them with ample personal space. An overly crowded workplace can cause employees to become stressed and agitated. Hence, the space for an office should be used strategically so that employees who want to work privately can do so, and those who are looking for creative collaboration are given designated breakout spaces.
The best way employers can ensure that they have appropriate workplace density is by using space management tools. This helps track the space in one system, ensuring that the office is not overcrowded and is being used smoothly by the existing workers. Even though all offices do not have the budget and resources to ensure good lighting, noise levels and density, and air quality, employers should take small steps to slowly change the office setup to something healthier that will impact employees' mental health. The best thing that your boss can do is show you that they care about the wellbeing of you and your colleagues by ensuring a caring and positive work culture.
If your mental health is suffering due to your office setup, it is best to speak to your employer and get your concerns across.
There are high chances that your colleagues may be feeling the same way, so do not shy away from telling your employers how you feel and explaining to them how an office setup can affect the mental health of employees.
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