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Companies are looking into more ways to support mental well-being by having mental health first aiders in the workplace. Supporting mental health at work can be as simple as adding sunlight or plants to the office, which can boost morale.

NHS England has confirmed that one in four adults experience a mental illness including anxiety and depression. So how, as a business can you help to promote a more positive mental health attitude? 

Besides employee support programs, there are simple changes you can make in the office to promote mental health in the workplace.

The Importance of Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

Supporting mental health in the workplace is crucial for fostering a productive, healthy, and inclusive environment. Employees spend a significant portion of their lives at work, and the workplace can greatly impact their mental well-being.

Employers who prioritise mental health support demonstrate concern for their employees' well-being. This can lead to increased morale, engagement, and retention. Focusing on mental health can improve overall workplace satisfaction and productivity.

It shows that employers value their employees' mental well-being. Creating a workplace culture that destigmatises mental health issues encourages open communication, reduces stress, and increases job satisfaction.

Investing in mental health resources can benefit individuals and improve productivity, creativity, and innovation in the organisation. These resources include employee assistance programs, counselling services, and flexible work arrangements.

Ultimately, supporting mental health in the workplace isn't just the right thing to do; it's essential for cultivating a thriving and resilient workforce.

Maximise Natural Light

Sunlight helps produce vitamin D, which fights depression and diabetes, as well as connecting us to nature. Maximising the natural light in your office can boost motivation across your team, whilst reducing headaches, eyestrain and blurred vision by as much as 84%.

But how can you improve mental health in your workplace?

To make the most of natural light, you can replace solid interior office walls with glass partitions. If this isn't an option in your workspace, you can add designs to the glass to keep a room private.

These designs allow light to spill in while blocking people from seeing inside at the same time. As an alternative, switch glass allows you to flick between clear glass and frosted at the click of a button. 

A slightly more invasive option would be to add curtain walling to the exterior of your building. This is when instead of solid walls, you have large windows, and this can be fitted to any scale of building. You can also choose to add skylights or make your windows bigger instead of using curtain walling. 

LED lighting can help mimic daylight during the darker and colder months of the year. If you can’t get real sunlight into the office, this is your next best thing.

Getting Away for a Break

Ensuring your staff have a space away from their desk for a proper break is crucial. Looking at a computer screen all day without a break can be mentally tiring. In face-to-face roles, it's important for staff to take breaks and relax, instead of always having to appear happy. The pressure can be overwhelming, especially when they are not feeling well.

A well-designed space for staff to take breaks can help them recharge and refocus. This space should be away from their desk and customers. It can help them prepare for the afternoon. Those who take the opportunity for a break, find they are more productive than those who don’t.

Providing a small kitchen with no windows or seating is no longer enough. Your staff members need more than somewhere just to heat their lunch. Creating a space for staff to gather, relax, and have fun can boost morale and promote team bonding. 

The ideal space has tables for eating, comfy seating to relax, and a kitchen for use. Maybe include a TV or a games console. Ensure the room has windows or natural light, especially if it's in the middle of a building. Rooms that are sealed off can be unwelcoming and may negatively impact employee motivation.

Encourage Staff to be Active

Exercise helps prevent depression and anxiety, boosts self-esteem, and improves concentration, sleep, and overall health and wellbeing. 

Working full-time and having a family can be a barrier for many, to get that 30-minutes a day exercise the NHS recommends. However, there are ways, as an employer, you can help to make this endeavour a little easier.

Allowing a full hour for lunch provides plenty of time for staff to eat and take a walk on their break. If you have extra space in your office, you can create a gym for employees to use. They can use it before or after work, or during lunch breaks. Our gym is used daily by our team members!

As an alternative, there are bike-to-work schemes, running groups and team sports that can help with team bonding and encouraging exercise. 

Simple changes in the office, such as Sit-Stand desks, can be beneficial. These desks allow users to adjust the height to change their position during the day. Moving around during the day can boost productivity and improve mental health at work, according to research studies.

Creating the Right Working Environment

Open-plan offices are popular for promoting team communication and awareness of office activities, but they can be noisy. Your staff need quiet spaces where they can get away if they need to, or be able to take calls in a quiet space. By having smaller individual office spaces, it can help reduce personal stress levels and improve productivity. 

Another option is to install acoustic ceiling rafts in the office. These rafts not only look good but also help reduce noise and echoes.

For a more positive work environment and support in improving workplace mental health, APSS can help. We specialise in space planning and design to make the most of your space. Call us today or visit our services page to see how we can help.