As Governments around the world continue to push for lockdown measures, mental health continues to become a crucial issue for populations already suffering from prolonged and extreme measures designed to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Health experts are now reporting that almost every health affliction besides the pandemic is taking a massive toll on people, and that includes mental health issues such as suicidality and depression.
With many experts now pushing for a balanced approach to tackling Covid-19 that includes protecting the most vulnerable while allowing everyone else to go about their daily lives with precautions in place, it’s only a matter of time before the world will arrive at a crossroads and be forced to make a decision as to the best path forward. Either way, the evolution of the office will need to take into account the severe psychological harm brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and strive to reverse the effects as much as possible. How exactly can this be done?
Focus On Biophilia
It goes without saying that biophilic design continues to be extremely popular in the workplace thanks largely to humanity’s innate connection with nature. The use of green colours, flora and eco-friendly rooftops has been shown to have a huge positive impact on the human psyche, mood and motivation. Employees feel refreshed, invigorated, optimistic and ready to move forward. Not only will a focus on biophilia result in higher office productivity, but it will also go a very, very long way towards banishing post-Covid fears about returning to the office. Helping employees feel relaxed, calm and optimistic about the future won’t be accomplished overnight, but it will happen if green is a key component in the equation.
Light It Up
Not all offices are capable of flooding their workspace with natural lighting, but it’s important to try. If you lease a space with large windows, make the most of them by allowing sunlight and a great view to pour through. Studies have shown that this is one of the most effective methods of boosting employee morale and productivity, and the trend isn’t going away. For those who don’t have the luxury of vast windows and tons of sunlight, some companies are now selling LED-based lights that mimic the exact same properties of sunlight. The key here is to boost mood by invigorating employees with as much natural lighting as possible so they feel energized throughout the work day. That means ditching fluorescent lights as well. These horrid devices are hard on the eyes and they inflict fatigue, which means ridding yourself of them should be a priority. There are a number of excellent lighting options that far outshine (no pun intended) fluorescent lighting, including LED lighting, CMH and Halogen lights.
Take Into Account Your Staff
The next phase of office workspaces will have to focus heavily on the individual needs and personality traits of your staff. That’s far less daunting a task than it seems, however. Don’t be fooled by thinking that you won’t please everyone (because you never will), but instead focus on making your office amenities as diverse as possible. Include spots for multi-faith practices, invest in height-adjustable desks, go the extra mile when it comes to comfortable seating, and implement gathering areas with floor plans that allow employees to be social while still practicing basic distancing precautions – at least until the pandemic is well and done.
The Little Things
Speaking of precautions, it’s best to splurge a little bit and invest in items that will make it easier for employees to feel relaxed as they do their actual work. Transparent desk dividers can go a long way to adding a little extra comfort for those who are worried about viral transmission, and sanitary stations peppered around the office can alleviate similar fears. Put up signs around the office talking about the need for social distancing rules, but make them reassuring and calming rather than alarming or informal.
At every turn, your office should be met with a warmth and a reassuring tone that can help employees relax and get back to work in a positive, upbeat and rewarding environment. Don’t skimp on the fine details, as these can have a major effect not just on productivity, but employee retention and smooth day-to-day operations as well. For more information on how to refit your office environment with mental well-being as a number one priority, please contact us today!