With the amount of time that people are spending at work and workplace stress reaching epic proportions it’s now become more and more important to ensure staff have a balanced work experience.
In fact according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2014/15, 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill. That’s 40% of all work-related illness. A range of illnesses and symptoms including psychological problems, stress, anxiety and depression, are believed to be behind one in five visits to a GP.
Although we all experience some “pressure” at work to get a job done, it might be working to tight deadlines, it could be a difficult task that stretches us, in most cases a little bit of pressure can be motivating, but when it becomes excessive it can eventually lead to work-related stress. When stress exceeds your ability to cope, it stops being helpful and can result in ill-health. The HSE website highlights what to look out for with regards to work related stress. Clearly good stress management in the workplace is critical. Employers also have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. So as a business how can you motivate your staff but keep stress to a minimum?
From a business point of view there are a number of things you can do to minimise staff stress. Some examples are:
- managing work levels by prioritising and organising work to make sure staff aren’t overloaded.
- checking that staff aren’t working through their break times to try to keep up with work.
- encouraging staff to seek help by speaking to their manager or someone in their company they feel comfortable talking to.
Another way is by having “informal break out areas” where staff can take some time to relax, “get away” and refresh their brains. We all need some down-time, even if its just a few minutes away from your PC or workstation. Those few minutes can make all the difference, especially if they are in a different setting or environment that encourages you to relax.
Designing Break Out Areas
You might set out to design a break out area purely as a getaway area where staff can relax however if you’re short on space a well-designed break out area can fulfil a wide variety of functions from being an ideal place in which to relax, take a break, eat lunch to a place to meet and greet clients or hold small, informal meetings or brainstorm new ideas. Very often taking some time away from a computer screen and being in a less formal atmosphere can also help the exchange of ideas and drive the creative process.
If Space is at a Premium
With office space at a premium you may decide that you don’t have enough room to sacrifice traditional office space for a break out area — however with partitioning and the use of well thought out furniture, you can create a break out area which doesn’t mean having to give up a whole room. A break out area can be formed simply by utilising a small zone or section of your office space which will allow employees to step away from their individual desks to an area with comfortable seating solutions and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Planning Your Break Out Areas
With so many different types of office partitioning, colour schemes and furniture your options are endless. Below are some ideas on how to plan your break out area:
- Decide what function you want your break out area to fulfil. This will determine the amount of space required and what furniture would be best suited.
- Consider the best location. It’s important that the space is well lit. This is best realised through natural lighting however if this is not possible then good lighting can be achieved through the use of floor or ceiling lights.
- Choose the right colour scheme to set the mood. Colour is important and should reflect the space’s function. It’s a good idea to have a different colour in a break out area so it differentiates from the main office space. Warm colours such as greens and blues will aid relaxation. Vibrant colours can aid in creative thinking.
- Choose the right furniture. Invest in comfortable sofas and chairs as these will make a change from the usual office furniture thereby emphasising the nature of the space and its use. With the large range of furniture suitable for break out areas there are options to suit every need.
- Choose an area that is set away from the noise of the main office. It’s difficult to relax if there is a lot of noise. By separating the break out area (through partitioning or other means) it will also help to cut down on distractions and avoid annoying other working employees.
Ready to Build Your Break Out Area?
If you are looking for a refurbishment company who has refurbishment expertise in designing and building break out areas then JBH refurbishments come highly recommended. Call us on 0333 207 0339 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.