Workplace stress has a big, negative impact on business. The 2016 Labour Force Survey from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports a total of 488,000 cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16. The total number of working days lost due to this was 11.7 million; and stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health.
In a report published in 2015, Public Health England (PHE) looked at the impact of physical environments on employee wellbeing. The report states that these surroundings can be “as much a source of pressure as a heavy workload, poor work-life balance or significant organisational change.”
What measures can businesses take to change office environments to help fight workplace stress?
Privacy and Openness
“The PHE report recommends work environments that give employees the opportunity to easily connect, without compromising their privacy,” observes Ajaz Haq, Director of Sales and Marketing at Form Interior Contracts.
Ajaz’s expertise is in office design and supplying specialist office furniture. He comments that while there have been benefits to open plan office spaces, they can also be a source of stress in themselves.
“It’s about striking the right balance,” he says, “between an open environment and giving employees their own personal space.”
The Breakout Solution
The breakout area is an ideal means of providing a multi-functional, open space that allows employees to interact and collaborate, but also to take a rest from their workstations.
“Employees need a space where they are encouraged to take sufficient time away from their desks to unwind. It enables them to relax while still being within the work sphere”
Breakout areas should not be viewed as an unnecessary luxury, but a vital, long-term investment in the health and wellbeing of employees.
“We’ve got a modern office culture where many people are glued to their screens, at their desks, and they feel constantly scrutinised in open-plan office environments,” Ajaz remarks. “This is a recipe for stress.”
“Businesses should always think of their staff as their most important asset, and the physical environment they work in should reflect this”
Taking a break is not a luxury and fostering a positive, productive workplace culture requires the right physical surroundings; and good office design has a key role to play in fighting workplace stress.
To discover how breakout areas could benefit your workplace, please call Form Interior Contracts on 0161 410 0010 or visit form-furniture.co.uk to see their range of solutions.