Workplaces to feel your best

Positive mental health awareness is growing, and as society is starting to accept it as the new norm, it is now positively shaping the environments that we are in. Everything from the perks of having “duvet days” at work, being encouraged to talk openly about the stresses of modern life, pet friendly offices and pockets of free space in the middle of high rises.

How we design our work and open spaces to promote good mental and physical health has really piqued our interest and something we consider when we work on placemaking projects. There is a drive to support people by surrounding them with enriching workplaces and environments.

Research and understanding about this topic are ongoing, but there are some boxes that can be ticked to improve the situation.

Accessibility to green spaces

Nature has been associated with reduction of depression and stress, whilst at the same time, improving social and cognitive functioning. If your office is located in an area that has no parks on the doorstep, you can put up some plants, or install a living wall to recreate the feeling of being in an open and natural space. Second Home’s coworking spaces is a very good place to get inspired!

Integrate activity in daily routines

Sitting in an office chair for eight hours straight is anything but healthy. More agile workplaces with standing desks or break out spaces encourage teams to move around and get out from behind their desk. Starting a running club or hosting lunchtime yoga sessions can is great for team building bit will also reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Use of colour

Colour influences how we communicate and if we are able to concentrate or relax. That’s also why colour in an office is responsible for people’s mood and if you feel welcome or not. It is recommended to bring accents of colour into neutral office rooms by adding colourful furniture or plants here and there: the basic rule to follow is definitely less is more. Every shade has positive as well as negative connotations and is subjectively perceived. Red for example is known for warmth, activity, energy and creativity. On the flip-side it’s related to danger, anger and aggression. Always keep in mind that there are two sides of the story when it comes to colour psychology.

Get social

Mental health is linked closely to strong social connections and the support of other people. In an office that can mean being part of a tight-knit team whose members can be sure to be backed up by each other. Again, nice break out spaces and open plan kitchen areas are a key player in helping the team bond to grow together.

A friendly and flexible workplace environment is supportive for people to find their potential and also has sustainable positive effects on mental health. If you want to see a best in practice example, take a look at AIS. An office fit-out company that’s passionate about creating workplaces that inspire people to do their best. Our recent rebrand helped them to communicate exactly that to their clients.

Photography by AIS.