Strengthen mental health in the workplace and introduce a culture of wellness and mental wellbeing to increase productivity, creativity, and employee happiness.
Cultivate a healthy working environment by encouraging wellness and mental health in the workplace. With long periods of sitting, reliance on quick takeout meals, and strenuous computer eye strain, the modern-day working environment creates unnecessary stress that can result in work-related anxiety, depression, and low morale. With the workday encompassing a majority of our day-to-day life, the office should be a place where employees can do well and thrive. Ensuring that employees are happy and healthy not only has immediate benefits but also long-term cost-saving rewards with increased productivity, talent retention, and lower medical costs.
Creating a healthy working environment takes considerable time and commitment as it requires an entire lifestyle and behaviour change for everyone in the office. It needs employees at all levels to be active promoters for each other. Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your workplace to slowly introduce the culture of wellness and mental wellbeing that engages, motivates, and supports your employees.
1. Flexible hours
With this digital age, advances in technology have enabled employees to access files and effectively communicate with each other easily. If your employees do not have to be physically in the office all the time, consider implementing flexible working hours to promote better work-life balance. Flexible working hours tend to increase morale as there is a higher level of trust within the company. Productivity and creativity are enhanced since employees can choose to work when they are the most focused and alert rather than at predetermined times.
2. Comforting office space
How an office is designed can have surprisingly drastic effects on our emotions, productivity and creativity. Take into account lighting, air quality, colours, and whether there are plants when designing the office space. Poor lighting can cause headaches, eye strain, and tiredness while specific colours can affect our moods and stress levels. In order to build a healthier and calmer workplace environment, try to have larger windows to bring in natural light, ample lighting, plants, water features, open space, and inviting colours. Companies can also invest in standing desks as a way for employees to improve their posture, strengthen their core muscles, and avoid them sitting for too long. Check out Office Design Ideas that Facilitate Work Efficiency & Business Innovation for more inspirations.
3. Scheduled mindfulness
Regularly set aside time for group activities such as yoga or meditation during the workday as a way to incorporate self-care into the workplace. Have lunchtime meditation breaks or afternoon workouts to break up the day. This gives employees the opportunity to breathe, regroup and recharge especially with tight deadlines or intensive projects. Doing this as a group has the added benefit of building team morale, communication, and general happiness within the office.
4. Designated space for mindfulness
We all need mental health breaks once in a while. Think about having a quiet corner or room where employees can nap or read for a short time in order to mentally recharge and come back with renewed energy. Having a designated space that is specifically designed for employees to focus on their mental health and wellness will go a long way in making sure employees know that their wellbeing is important to the company’s success.
5. Healthy and active resources
Physical wellbeing and mental health are intrinsically related. Being active not only betters the mood and diminishes feelings of anxiety, depression and stress but also boosts energy levels, brain health, and memory. Giving free or discounted gym memberships is a way to incentivise employees to do more exercise. Providing work out equipment or offering gym memberships can help to relieve the financial burden of signing up and eliminates the extra step that employees may have had to take in order to take care of themselves. You can also offer healthy snacks, hearty meals, and lifestyle books inside the office to promote clean eating and proper habits.
6. Access to additional support
Support your employees by offering employee assistance programs or healthcare programs. Have a healthcare professional like a nutritionist or psychologist come in every other month to discuss topics that will help employees gain a better understanding of self-care. Topics such as nutrition goals, daily water intake, supplements, allergies, and more are a good reminder of what actions individuals can do to support themselves. Providing access to financial workshops or wellness services like massage therapy can also help to relieve any stress that employees may have. Encourage employees to get regular health checks so that they are aware of their physical health status or have a therapist on hand to provide confidential support for issues like depression and anxiety. By providing additional services for the office, the employees can feel that their company truly cares for their physical and mental wellbeing even outside the office time. There is a level of empathy that is communicated that can boost job satisfaction and confidence between employer and employee.
7. Community building
Building a close-knit community within your office is a major step in nourishing a healthy office culture. Having supportive relationships and positive energy in the office helps to raise productivity, inspire creativity, encourage loyalty, and reduce work-related stress. There are many ways to incorporate the idea of community within the office. Have a communal meal at least once a week or schedule team-building activities like hiking, escape room, or laser tag, that focus on having fun so that employees can interact and connect with people from the other teams. This can enhance collaboration and communication skills within the same department. Similarly, you can organise Corporate Social Responsibility activities and get the office to volunteer together. Give employees a sense of purpose, an opportunity to be part of a greater community, and a chance to socialise with their peers.
8. Monthly challenges
Friendly competition can help to incentivise employees to focus on wellness and become more healthy. Set monthly wellness challenges related to health or fitness for small cash prizes, gift vouchers or a donation to the winner’s chosen charity. The specifics of the competitions can be anything from particular workout contests to water challenges. Just by having these types of races can help to cultivate a mentality that understands the importance of taking care of oneself. You can also establish a wellness award to motivate employees to set and achieve their own wellness goals.
At Garage Society, we provide beautiful co-working spaces that are designed to enhance work efficiency and innovation. Our mobile workstations, standing desks, designated quiet areas, and floor-to-window glass panelling help to set the stage for a healthy office culture that focuses on wellness and mental health. Contact us here at Garage Society to learn more about the spaces that we have in Asia so that you can build your own healthy workplace environment!
25 May, 2020 - HK
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