You may have seen the Look Up campaign over the last year or two, which has now started to gain momentum as we seek inspiration to find new ways of supporting our mental health, especially in the workplace. The report, by Dr Fiona Kerr, details how the simple act of looking up and out does great things to your brain and state of mind. The report is “a gentle nudge and reminder for everyone: to be present and engage in the world around them and the people they share it with.” Thus, inspiring us to reflect on simple ways to adapt your workplace to support mental health.
“Looking up and out can change your brain, your body, your relationships, your perspective, and your sense of identity and belonging”.
We have been implementing this ethos into fit-outs’ for some time. Since Covid-19 the widespread need to integrate health and wellness has most certainly become more prevalent. It has been an opportunity for us to evaluate what we have been doing and how we can change the stark juxtaposition of work and wellness.
The catch-22 in a Covid-impacted world is that we need to be further apart while being closer together. Whilst video conferencing has played an integral role it falls short when delivering on what we need mentally to do our best work: build relationships, have impromptu conversations, problem solve on the fly and collaborate. While the flexibility of working from home is a great option, the long term reality of this way of working is unsustainable for many businesses. Even the likes of Yahoo were unable to sustain the work-from-home model due to the loss of creativity, connection, and collaboration.
Four Simple Ways to Adapt Your Workplace to Support Mental Health:
Thus, combining what we’ve learned with what we know, there are ways to create an office space your employees can thrive in. Our top four simple ways to adapt you workplace to support mental health:
- Spaces away from screens. It seems like an obvious one, however, break-out spaces are important. Furthermore, if you can bring only a pen, paper and your ideas to a meeting, do it! See what happens when you genuinely engage.
- Walking meetings. We’ve had some practice at this while working in isolation; the dog needed walking or the kids needed to be picked up from school. Meanwhile, you had to fit in a phone call with your boss. So why not integrate this practice into your daily or weekly routine. Who knows what inspiration is waiting for you out of doors!
- Community hubs. Make your kitchen space a place where people can meet (at a safe social distance) and, if it is viable to do so, get the fruit box delivery back up and running for those in the office. And don’t forget to have fresh milk in the fridge!
- Integrate outdoor spaces into the office fit-out. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space as part of your tenancy, don’t miss the opportunity to make this an extension of your office space. Whether it is dining spaces and couches for relaxing or power outlets and Wi-Fi connectivity that will allow your team to take their laptops outside, the change of scene will result in higher levels of brain activity. The fact is, if you can get out of the air conditioning and into the fresh air, you will feel better! If you don’t have an outdoor space, integrate biophilic design principals to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment.
The smallest considerations can often have the biggest impact on your staffs’ mental health. People want to be inspired, motivated, respected and trusted. As an employer, it’s important to show that you’ve gained some valuable insight from the current global pandemic and that we’re nimble and mature enough to improvise, adapt and overcome.
InOne Can Help Realise Your Workplace Potential.
When it comes to designing your office, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line between cost and design. At InOne Projects, we endeavour to bring you the best cost-effective solution for your space while incorporating elements of design that are sure to have these benefits. Additionally, it’s important to create a workplaces that supports mental health. Whether it’s a little extra effort to install a green wall or ensuring you use the space effectively to harness natural light, our design and construction team have the knowledge and experience to achieve the office you need. If you’re looking at planning for your next project, get in touch with us here.