Controlling workplace stress through office refurbishments in London may seem like a tall task and while changing elements of an office’s design aren’t going to solve all workplace stress related issues they will go some way to making the environment that your staff spend their time in, a more comfortable and less stressful one.
Work related stress can be a major issue across businesses in London, the UK and world-wide. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), stress at work may be the cause of a growth in absence at work due to sickness, reduced work performance, poor time keeping and high staff turnover as well as an increase in customer complaints. After back related issues stress is the second biggest cause of work related illness in the UK, costing employers around £400 million per year.
In a previous article we reported that an average-sized London business with 250 employees will make an estimated loss of around £250,000 annually due to sickness absence! So how can office refurbishments in London tackle workplace stress?
Some Simple Office Refurbishment in London Steps
Wherever possible it’s extremely important to increase the natural light in offices and work spaces. Research has shown that exposure to natural light is directly linked to greater workplace performance while the absence of natural light correlates with increased levels of workplace stress. A study into the psychological aspects of lighting by B.L. Collins found that 35% of employees instantly identified the absence of natural light as the major concern associated with their office environment, resulting in feelings of isolation, tension and claustrophobia.
Mental Health Research UK say people who go without daily sunlight risk developing lethargy, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) (also known as winter depression). It’s estimated that a million working hours are lost to SAD each year in the UK.
Effect of Colour
Colour can have an impact on mood. In fact there is a great deal of research and information detailing the “psychology” of colour on improving health and well-being.
Colour preference has been shown to have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on mood on a subconscious level. Some colours can have a calming effect and help you relax, other colours can be stimulating. Having the right colours around you can be an excellent way to reduce stress. This doesn’t just mean wall colour, you can also introduce colour through the use of plants or wall art.
Some examples of stress reducing colours:
Yellow. Yellow is bright and cheerful and a great colour to lift spirits and combat stress.
Green. Green is restful and quiet. It soothes and diffuses anxiety.
Blue. Blue is tranquil and peaceful. It’s great for stress management as it encourages calmness but it can also be cold so it should be used in balance.
Violet. Violet is associated with serenity, peace and wisdom. Decorating a workspace with accents of violet can give your space a peaceful feeling that will help relieve stress.
High noise levels can impact stress levels. If staff are already stressed then lots of office noise is likely to set them on edge. There are a number of ways of reducing noise and helping control acoustics in the office:
Ceilings. Sound in offices is most commonly reflected off ceilings so suspended ceilings with special sound absorption qualities can control noise distribution throughout an office. The acoustic performance of suspended ceilings has improved dramatically over the years. The panels help to deaden sounds and keep adjacent rooms quieter.
Partioning. The use of soundproof partitioning can also play a role in deadening noise, By partitioning office space you can offer privacy where needed as well as providing practical solutions for dividing work spaces which allow staff to work in a quieter environment.
Break Out Areas
Providing areas where staff can get away from their desks and chill out can have a big impact on allowing staff to de-stress. Sometimes people just need a few minutes to regroup and refresh away from their work or computer. By providing a recognised break out area with comfortable seating you give staff a place they can escape to and you should see a decrease in stress levels.
If you’re looking to make small or large changes to your office environment with a view to helping reduce stress in your workplace we can help. Call us to discuss your options on 0333 207 0339.