TG Escapes Blog
Environmental improvements can reduce stress in the workplace
As working hours get longer and expectations for fast turn-arounds increase, the number of employees that are getting stressed due to their work lifestyle is rising.
A report published last year by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed a sharp increase in hospital admissions due to work-related stress. Many blame the recession and the pressure to meet deadlines, with most admissions being linked to concerns about financial issues.
There has always been a degree of stress in the workplace but that doesn’t mean that it should be considered the norm. While it may not be possible to reduce the obligations of employees or diminish their needs to worry about finances, there are ways to ensure that the office environment is one that is more comfortable.
Environmental improvements to the workplace can help benefit the mental and physical health of those that use it day to day. Research has shown that urban environments without green space provide little or no opportunities for people to recover from mental stresses or physical tensions. A natural, open space in the workplace provides employees with an area to relax, to stop and process their daily routine. Closed and dysfunctional building layouts can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety amongst staff.
Businesses and companies are now looking for ways in which they can provide their employees with a more comfortable, natural environment. Developing outdoor rooms as offices or break rooms has been a popular choice for many. This way they can add to their pre-existing development and give staff a space to break the monotony of a regular office build.
When developing a new outdoor space, businesses need to think about how aspects of the design will benefit their employees. Large glass windows and doors allow more natural light into the environment while features such as eco-friendly insulation and heating will ensure that the room feels fresh and not stuffy. A bright, airy space can be achieved by using natural materials that blend with their surroundings. With additions like sedum roofs, businesses can make their new outdoor room the green space that workers need to reduce their stress levels.
For those that are not in a position to be able to develop a brand new outdoor office, there are other alternatives. Shelters or canopies are a simple way to encourage staff to spend more time outdoors. Providing them with a covered space where they can enjoy a break away from the main office is likely to increase the amount of time they spend outside. Many workers find themselves staying at their desks for lunch or taking breaks by the coffee machine. Something as straightforward as an outdoor shelter could make break times more al fresco.
It’s important for employers to understand stress and the small changes that could make a big difference. Creating a more natural environment for staff to work or relax in can help reduce stress levels and make employees feel more comfortable in their surroundings.
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