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 work as 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 been found to work some of the longest hours than most of Europe. Meaning? We are the generation that is overworked and burnt out. However, steering away from the doom and gloom, the way we work as a country is now being revolutionised. 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 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 has alienated us as human beings from the natural world we live in, and is simply 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 decided to embrace nature into our offices with loving arms … perhaps to a point in which we now own an actual jungle, but the benefits are real. Introducing plants into the workplace not only enhances the visual aesthetics of a space, but there are 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 is proven to reduce stress, increase productivity, inspire creativity and even prevent sickness! It is 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 – Hybrid Working

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

If the past year (or two) has taught us anything, it’s that working from home is ok – it really is! Working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, within an office environment can be a really unsustainable model for people to work. This concept 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 new revelation of work. 

It comes as no surprise that the idea of hybrid and remote working in the UK has increased in popularity since the pandemic. In February 2022, more than three-quarters (78%) of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work life balance, and almost half (47%) reported it had improved their well-being. As a business, we hopped on this productivity train two years ago and have been hybrid working ever since. For us, this is a working model supported by the whole team and still allows us to be a competitive web design agency in the South West. 

Foundry 17.

Here at Studio Illicit, we are extremely 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 large businesses come together to enjoy an open, spacious and contemporary compound to work! This collaborative space allows 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/