Having a well-designed office is not all it takes to ensure your employees have a positive attitude. Providing personal space for them ensures good mental health in the workplace.
Spaces that are too crowded may increase the levels of stress, agitation, and irritability, negatively impacting concentration, and as a result, reducing productivity. Other factors that influence productivity and concentration include air quality, noise conditions, temperature, and lighting. Low lighting can cause headaches, eye-strain, fatigue, and increase stress.
In contrast, too much lighting may cause glare headaches, thus increasing stress. With inadequate lighting as a distraction, this may result in poor work quality and low productivity levels.
The effect of lighting on mental health
No matter the industry, be it a workshop or an office, tasks become more manageable with proper lighting. This eliminates the possibility of shadows or glare, reducing subjectivity to headaches and eye strain. Adequate lighting ensures employees’ safety as there is good visibility of colleagues and machinery, and it allows one to concentrate better on the task at hand.
Many studies have highlighted some key principles of lighting and shown that even giving workers in open offices control of lighting can help to increase their job satisfaction and reduce stress levels.
Bad lighting affects the mental health of those exposed to it by causing stress and increasing anxiety levels. Proper lighting has been known to enhance one’s mood, improve energy and alertness, directly impacting productivity. Therefore, it is essential to ensure you maintain the correct commercial lighting required for your organisational setup.
Winter can also play a major role in your mental health, especially if your home office or commercial office has poor lighting. Take a look at leading LED specialists’ blogs on winter kitchen trends to make a real difference on your mental health and those around you.
The future of office space
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot has changed on the office front. For many, work came to a complete halt, and for the lucky ones, movement restrictions demanded working-from-home situations. For the most part, this has seen a decline in office space requirements. This new workplace situation has seen the increase of remote working and flexible hours across various industries.
Covid-19 brought with it reduced movement. As human beings are generally social beings, this isolation period has significantly impacted individuals’ mental health. There has been an increased need to monitor employees differently. Through increased communication methodologies, employers are now supporting their teams remotely to track mental stability and required output.
Some industries cannot function comprehensively without an office, creating the need for an upgraded office space that factors in the pandemic restrictions, maintaining the required social distancing policies.
Promoting better workplace mental health
Anxiety, stress, and depression are issues that many have suffered as a result of workplace issues. Unlike conventional illnesses where symptoms are visible, mental health is not that transparent. It is most times difficult to determine when one is suffering.
Mental illness can be easily camouflaged as one ‘having a bad day.’ Yet, they may be suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental challenges. Sadly, not many are willing to speak about it openly due to fear of stigmatisation. Incidentally, declining mental health has been shown to manifest itself as physical health issues.
Therefore, employers are encouraged to have an open policy about mental health, facilitating candid conversations about it across all staff levels. With a conducive workplace culture, when an employee feels they need a mental health day off, they will be able to communicate the same, ultimately improving their general mental health. Taking the required time off to recharge can adversely affect your general well-being.
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as an employer, realise that some have lost loved ones to the epidemic and that people handle grief differently. Provide relevant resources and tools that contain practical advice that your employees can utilise. While doing so, ensure to eliminate any barriers to accessing these resources by availing the information in various formats, e.g., leaflets, printable formats, online formats, etc. Also, ensure to provide confidentiality to make it comfortable for everyone.