Is Office Wellbeing Designed With Everyone In Mind?

Kerr well designed blog

The importance of mental wellbeing in the office has once again been highlighted, as research from mental health charity Mind revealed that men are more likely to experience work-related mental health problems.

The survey, which questioned 15,000 employees in the UK, found that 32% of men attribute poor mental health to their job, while just 14% say it’s due to problems in their personal lives. In comparison, women said their job and external sources equally contributed to poor mental health, with the same amount of women (19%) blaming their job as problems outside of work.

The research also revealed discrepancies in how employees view their organisation’s culture about mental wellbeing.

When asked if their company’s culture made it possible to speak openly about mental health problems, 38% of women agreed, compared to 31% of men. Additionally, nearly three fifths (58%) of women said they feel supported in the workplace, with their manager regularly checking in on them, compared to under half (49%) of male respondents.

So, how can you create an open culture where discussions about mental health are actively encouraged?

Introduce a wellbeing scheme

A study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation earlier this year found that nearly two thirds (65%) of people in the UK have experienced a mental health problem. When you translate that to your workforce, it seems common sense that employers would implement wellbeing schemes.

Not only do such policies help foster an environment where all employees can talk openly about mental wellbeing, they can also have a positive effect on both productivity and absences.

Research discussed by Real Business found that employers who had introduced a wellbeing scheme saw a reduction in sickness absence in 82% of the programmes.

Think about the work environment

Wellbeing schemes aren’t the only way employers can encourage employee wellbeing. We know that office design can impact our physical health, so why isn’t there more focus on the effect it can have on our mental health?

Intelligent office layout can help employees both interact and work independently in specially designed spaces. Every office should boast a mixture of collaborative open plan spaces and more private, quiet areas reserved for independent working.

Office designers can’t control the workload employees face, but they can help create an environment that encourages collaboration and social interaction between all staff.

One of the biggest problems in identifying mental health issues, especially in young men, is that stigma stops them from talking about their true feelings. By encouraging a more interactive and open work culture, businesses might be able to spot someone who is struggling a lot sooner.

Here at Kog, we like to take the time to really get to know our clients, to understand their challenges and provide them with a space that helps improve their daily working lives. Why not give us a call today?

For more information on mental health, visit the Time to Change campaign or follow #timetotalk on Twitter.