How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace

I hate to say it but you may be a little late to the party if you still envision the workplace to be a place where overtime is celebrated, lunch breaks are for the lazy and working from home is a sin. 

In recent years, we were shocked to learn that the UK has found to work some of the longest hours than most of Europe. Meaning? We are the generation who is overworked and burnt-out. However, steering away from the doom and gloom of the whole situation, the way we work as a country is now being revolutionised and there are so many ways, big and small, to reduce the stresses of work-life and boost productivity! 

Not sure how to break the stigma? If you are an employer, employee or even a self-owned limited company, here are a few things that we have introduced into our workplace in order to keep a more sustainable work/life balance!

Biophilic Design.

We are so over the cynical stereotype of offices that are proudly paraded by corporate companies. This old school perspective is what has completely alienated us as human beings from the natural world we live in, and it’s simply just not cool. For somewhere in which, unfortunately, we do spend the majority of our lives, why should we spend it in a way that is completely unnatural to us?

At Studio Illicit we decided against corporate working a few years back (shock) and we embraced nature into our offices with loving arms … perhaps to a point in which we now own an actual jungle but the benefits are real, so who gives a sh!t? Introducing plants into the workplace doesn’t only enhance the visual aesthetics of a space but there are also some mega physical and mental benefits behind it too! Biophilic design is the way in which we implement our outdoor environment into our indoor environment and has been proven to reduce stress, increase productivity, inspire creativity and even prevent sickness! It’s safe to say, We. Are. Here. For. It. We jumped at the chance to add some greenery to our office if it meant supporting our team to reach their higher potential, and it worked! 

We purchased our growing greens from Urban and Rural in Exeter and couldn’t recommend them more for their awesome service! 

Yes, We Said It – Four Day Weeks.

Brace yourselves, as we’re now heading into slightly controversial territory. 

The past year or so has not only taught us that working from home is ok … really it is. But it has also raised the question as to why on earth we are working within such an unsustainable working model of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This concept of work seems to have been ingrained into us all as the norm for working life, when in fact, there are countries like Spain, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan implementing a completely new revelation of work. 

The idea of a four-day working week has increased in popularity in recent years as studies have shown that having an extra day to rest and recoup, workers have better mental health, increased productivity and the guilt-free mindset of a reduced carbon footprint! 11 years ago, Studio Illicit hopped on this productivity train and has been working a four day week ever since. For us, this is a working model that is supported by all of the team and still allows us to be a competitive web design agency in the southwest. 

Food for thought: Work expands to fill the available time. 

Foundry 17.

Here at Studio Illicit, we are very lucky to be a part of a collaborative shared workspace called Foundry 17. Foundry 17 is a workspace situated in the heart of Exeter where both small and larger businesses come together to enjoy an open, spacious and contemporary compound to work! This collaborative space allows for our team to switch up their workspace to comfy sofa seating or private and soundproof pods depending on their needs for work. 

Not only are there benefits to mixing up your workspace, but the added benefit of being around others from a range of different backgrounds and industries can really spearhead awareness and ensure that the dreaded ‘lockdown loneliness’ doesn’t creep its head again. 

So what can you do about it?

The road to improving workplace mental health is a long one, but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of great, free advice out there for you to tap into: whether you’re an employer, employee or just interested. Below, we’ve listed two great blogs for you to check out from leading mental health charities:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-support-mental-health-work 

https://cpdonline.co.uk/knowledge-base/business/improving-mental-health-in-the-workplace/