How office design can help tackle stress in the workplace

workplace stress
Better office design can improve productivity and help reduce stress

Work-related stress in on the rise across the UK, with many experts believing it has reached epidemic levels. Stress-related absence has increased as a result and many businesses are experiencing high levels of turnover and a “revolving door” that means a great expense in constantly recruiting and training staff.

In increasingly difficult economic times, staff layoffs and extreme cost-cutting has resulted in fewer employees doing more work and many employers are still focused on the outdated and damaging productivity measure, squeezing more work still out of their staff.

However, some savvy employers are recognising the reality of this issue and are taking steps to address it. Putting employee welfare back in a position of highest priority means reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction, which results in a loyal and hardworking staff team.

But what can you do to reduce stress levels in your workforce?

Using office design to reduce the impact of stress

It’s interesting to note that the employers at the forefront of innovation in tackling stress levels in their workforce and increasingly using the design of their offices as their main tool. It’s no surprise that we’re affected by our environment, but we might not think of the office layout as increasing stress.

However, as many offices have moved to open plan layouts and squeezed more staff into smaller areas, employees increasingly feel like they are being “watched”. Lack of privacy, poor interaction across teams, lack of adequate storage and bad lighting all have an impact.

Changing your office design could make all the difference.

Allow flexibility

Flexible working is a sure way to help alleviate some stress in workers, who increasingly value the opportunity to balance their working and personal lives by working from home. But that flexibility can also follow in the office design.

Allow staff to choose where they work from in the office; a mix of hotdesks, pods and private offices with the autonomy to choose which you use depending on your workload goes a long way to making staff feel more trusted.

Inspire through design

Careful colour choices and inspirational art can help staff to feel more creative and help them to relax.

Natural light

Natural light is crucial to maintaining healthy circadian rhythms and reducing stress headaches. Get rid of flickering, dull (or overly bright) fluorescent lighting and introduce natural lighting where possible. If this isn’t appropriate for the space, use daylight bulbs and allow staff to adjust the lighting to suit their own workspace.

Office layout

An office design that flows, with acoustic partitions that reduce noise and distraction but still allows for interaction, can help reduce stress. A layout that encourages movement means reducing the amount of time employees spend sitting – encourage people to get up out of their seats and talk to each other instead of emailing.

Breakout and private areas

A sense of privacy is crucial in work and needs to be carefully balanced with open plan working. Employees need to feel that their privacy is respected when required.

Create comfortable, cosy breakout areas where teams can chat in private. Install small, private, bookable rooms where workers can chat in private or move to for some peace when they’re carrying out important or complex tasks.

Desk Mounted Partition Screens could improve privacy and reduce stress

Desk Mounted Partition Screens are an easy and economical way of improving privacy in the office. They also reduce noise interference, baffling sound and increasing concentration. There is a wide variety of styles to choose from which can suit any office.

We have an incredible range of Desk Mounted Partition Screens that come in shapes and colours that will increase privacy and offer inspiration to any office. If you have a particular requirement around colours and styles, we’ll even work with you to create the perfect dividers to suit your needs.

You can look at our full range here and if you have a particular requirement you don’t see, talk to our sales advice team.

John

Head of cool things at Office Furniture
Bit of this, bit of that but love cats.

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Author: John