Opinion

National Stress Awareness Day: 5 ways to reduce workplace worry with clever office design

4 min read

04 November 2015

For employers, it is not always possible to control and reduce stressful workloads or roles for your employees, but you can create an office environment that will help improve well-being of staff and, in return, reduce stress in the workplace.

Did you know that workplace stress accounted for “35 per cent of all work-related ill health cases” in 2014 / 2015? This amounted to a staggering loss of 9.9m working days, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

With National Stress Awareness Day on 4 November, here are some easy tips for creating a stress-free workplace:

1. Colours

Recent studies in to the psychology of colour show how different colours can impact the way we feel about spending time in a particular environment. 

Bold, bright colours such as orange, red and yellow can help to boost creativity but can actually contribute to feelings of stress, so avoid using these colours too often. 

Opt for a soothing colour palette such as neutral creams, greys or muted pastel tones which have a much calmer effect, reserving brighter colours for your company branding and office accessories. 

Read more on the office environment:

2. Lighting

Our bodies need regulated serotonin levels to function properly, and natural light is a lead stimulant of them. 

Responsible for healthy sleep patterns, learning, information recall, mental alertness and a general good mood, it helps us to prevent the onset of depression, anxiety and stress.

Replace solid walls or partitions with glass or better yet, remove them to create an open-plan office interior and let the natural light flood your office space. 

Top tip: Encourage employees to take breaks and step outside the office for an unfiltered dose of daylight.

Continue reading on the next page for three other ways you can keep staff feeling relaxed and at peace.

The five best and worst office views that Britain has to offer

3. Greenery

Studies have found that plants can help improve office air quality and amazingly also help reduce tension, depression, anxiety and fatigue by 37- 58 per cent. 

We recommend placing easy to care for plants such as areca and kentia palms or dragon trees around the office to add colour and interest; they are also a great functional way to divide work areas too.

4. Relaxing areas

More and more businesses are now creating dedicated work zones within the workplace for employees to find a quiet spot to focus on a specific task or a purposeful space to collaborate in, but to keep a lid on stress; it’s beneficial to complement any work areas with non-work areas too. 

Everyone needs to take a break during a busy working day, so designate calm, relaxing break areas for your team to retreat to and destress.

5. Staying active

It’s a known fact that regular exercise is one of the best remedies for stress, so why not help your employees to stay healthy. 

Some companies such as Knightsbridge-based Sonangol, incorporate gym equipment and showers into the office so employees can work out.

If you don’t have the space for this, why not encourage personnel to be more active by centralising refreshment, printing and recycling points to encourage people to leave their desks and walk around.

Not only is it exercise, but it’s also opportunities for social interaction which can also help relieve feelings of isolation and stress too.

Chris Jenkins is project director at London-based office design company Peldon Rose. For further advice or information about developing a creative, productive and fun workplace that benefits your employees and your organisation as a whole, contact the team.