Now that workplaces are reopening in some capacity after the initial COVID-19 shutdown, many company leaders are looking at how that workplace can be supportive, reducing stress and anxiety. A pleasant, inspiring, and welcoming workplace is good at any time. Post-COVID, a safe and supportive environment is all the more important in attracting, motivating, and retaining employees. Let’s talk about how to reduce stress and anxiety at work in a pandemic.
When staff has been away from the physical work environment for weeks or months, welcoming them to a calm and cohesive workspace is crucial. You may be working with limited space, or a limited budget, but that doesn’t mean transforming your area is out of reach. You might be surprised to find out how much a few small changes can do for mental health. Here are a handful of tips that we hope inspire you to create positive change.
Natural (or Softer) Light to Reduce Stress and Anxiety at Work
In an ideal world, everyone’s office is full of natural light, proven to be a mood-booster. In one study, 80 percent of desk-based office workers indicated that having good lighting in the workspace is important to them. As much as 40 percent reported that they are stuck with uncomfortable lighting every day. Furthermore, a third of those surveyed said better lighting would make them happier and reduce stress and anxiety at work.
Of course, you probably cannot completely overhaul your office to include more windows, especially on a short turnaround. If you do have natural light sources underutilized, you can find ways to encourage more of that light to shine through. Reevaluate how you have positioned desks so you can offer equitable access to the light sources you have. At the same time, move large, light-blocking objects out of the way. You can also encourage employees to take outdoor breaks where it’s possible, practical and safe.
Where you cannot introduce more natural light, you can move away from harsh fluorescent lighting to something softer. Moving away from institutional overhead lighting helps reduce eyestrain and headaches. This will create a healthier, happier environment for everyone.
Think About Noise
Open concept offices are the new normal, which may shift post-COVID with distancing requirements. Still, noise is a problem, adding to feelings of anxiety, distraction, and frustration. Wherever you can, consolidate the noisier areas of the office away from workspaces where things should be quieter and more private. Conference rooms, lunchrooms, and break rooms are all places where noise is expected, so keep a buffer between those areas and individual desks. You can set up some enclosures or barriers between workspaces, even in an open concept layout, to provide more calm and reduce stress and anxiety at work.
Spruce Up the Break Room
This is an area of office improvement we know well. We have almost two decades of experience in this area. We have learned, over that time, that a warm and inviting break room is not only about office refreshments. The truth is that investing in your break room is an investment in office culture and contentment.
Consider your current break room. Is it a space that feels like a home away from home, with great snacks and drinks for fuel, comfortable seating, and opportunities for employees to interact outside of the pressures of work? Or is it a dull, utilitarian area that nobody uses? If your break room seems more like the latter than the former, a simple upgrade will go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety for your staff.
There are several ways we can help you invest in your staff by investing in your break room. If the space itself is fine the way it is, an upgrade on coffee service and/or healthy snacks gives everyone a chance to refuel and recharge with quality products. From the most enticing espresso to snacks that leave staff smiling, food and beverage services are big perks.
If the entire break room deserves an overhaul, you have come to the right people, too. We will look at your space, staff makeup, and goals, to create a plan that maximizes comfort and functionality. The result is a break room that, combined with our top-notch beverage and food service, ensures that your employees will want to use it and feel valued.
For help with all of your workspace needs, get in touch with us online. We can set you up with a free tasting, a free trial, or a conversation with one of our expert team members. We invite you to learn more about our services and how they will help you create the ideal workspace. You can also call us at 973-402-1088.