An average adult spends most of their time at the workplace. While a healthy workplace can have a positive impact on the mental health of its employees, an inefficient or toxic workplace can lead to low productivity, high stress, and even cause depression among its employees.
There are several factors that can affect the mental health of the employees and some of the factors might not be related to the workplace at all. However, every responsible organization realizes the benefits of having a happy and healthy workforce. In this article, we delve deep into the importance of mental health in the workplace and how an organization can build a psychologically healthy workplace where every employee feels comfortable, valued, and motivated.
Importance Of Mental Health In The Workplace
It is no secret that mental health and productivity are correlated. Mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and burn-out, can greatly demotivate a person, lower energy levels, and decrease productivity. Statistics show 30% of disability claims are linked to mental health issues, 1 in every 5 Canadian experiences mental health issues every year, and mental health issues cost $50 billion per year in Canada.
As an employer, there are various ways you can create a positive workplace which will in turn foster employees that are productive, creative, and loyal to the organization. With improved mental wellness, you will also see less absenteeism, sick leaves, workplace-related injuries, and health costs.
While workplace culture and values play an essential role in the mental health of the employees, office design and furniture can also affect the mental health of the employees, which is usually disregarded.
Ergonomics And Physical Health
Ergonomic office furniture is specifically designed to enhance the comfort of employees. Ergonomic chairs, desks, and other furniture are designed to ensure the correct posture and balance of the occupant so that it reduces stress on various body parts such as the neck, spine, shoulders, elbows, and so on. This means employees can work comfortably and efficiently at their workstations for longer hours without feeling discomfort or pain, and naturally be in a better mood.
Lighting And Mood
Lighting is another important factor that can contribute to improved mood and mental well-being among your workers. Both natural and artificial lighting affect the mood differently. For instance, exposure to natural light boosts our bodies’ Vitamin D supply, improves concentration and productivity, and even makes us happy. On the other hand, poor lighting can lead to low energy levels, and cause depression.
A bright office space with ample natural light can make the space feel bigger and boost your employee productivity. The use of windows, glass partitions, or doors can amplify the natural light in your office design. For maximum benefit, it is recommended to use a variety of lighting to boost employee well-being.
Colour In The Workplace
When designing an office that supports the mental wellness of the employees, it is also important to understand how colours evoke different emotions and energies. While some colours can create a positive work environment, others can negatively influence and demotivate your employees. For instance, the colour yellow is associated with brightness, cheerfulness, and positivity while blue is linked to calm, focus, and productivity. On the other hand, colours such as black, grey, or red can create discomfort, depression, or anxiety due to being dark or overstimulating.
Noise And Distractions
Whether you have an open office design or not, noise and distractions in the workplace are very common. However, noise can impact employee wellness in several ways, such as reducing concentration, inducing stress and anxiety, and lowering productivity.
Reducing noise levels and minimizing distractions in the office design are essential for creating a healthy and efficient workplace. This can be done in several ways, such as using acoustic panels or boards, selecting sound-proof materials, allocating different spaces for specific tasks, having quiet zones or pods where workers can work uninterrupted, and so on.
Biophilic Design & Wellness Amenities
Biophilic design refers to the use of natural elements in the workplace to create an environment that boosts mental health, reduces stress, and improves performance. Biophilic design in the workplace can be anything from the use of natural light and colour palettes to integrating plants and trees in the office interior design, landscaping, installation of skylights, green feature walls, besides others. While biophilic design works by creating a habitat that mimics nature and enhances employee well-being, wellness amenities include facilities, provisions and comfort extended to the employees in various ways, such as break rooms, outdoor spaces, fitness centres, cafeteria, library, and so on.
Although not all office spaces may not have the perfect lighting, colouring, or other design aspects, taking small steps to create a psychologically healthy workplace will have a significant impact on your employees’ mental health as they will feel valued and well cared for. Harkel Office – a leading office furniture dealership in Vaughan – can help you create an efficient and healthy workplace that inspires creativity and productivity with our vast years of experience and resources. Reach out to one of our team members to discuss how we can help you transform your office space into a healthy and happy workplace.