Workplace Wellness & Security

4 Ways Facility Managers Can Encourage a Positive Mental Health Environment

David Spence
January 5th, 2017
clean, well-lit office space

Creating a positive mental health environment in the workplace is a holistic challenge that requires many components to work together. According to a Global Wellness Institute report, 57% of employees at “caring companies” (ones that implement healthy office space designs, wellness programs and more) rate their personal health and wellness high. To help employees develop positive mental health practices, facility managers need to combine strong culture, communications, policies and resources.

Let’s look at four specific ways you can establish a positive mental health environment at work.

1. Create a comfortable environment

Comfort is a basic component of encouraging positive mental health in the office. Facility managers should ensure that the space is accommodating to employees in terms of ergonomics, acoustics, lighting and thermal comfort. Finding that balance can help reduce physical stressors like poor posture.

You can also try to enable more autonomy, such as allowing employees to personalize their work spaces.

Stress often stems from a perceived lack of control—you can alleviate this issue by giving your team more choice and independence in the office.

2. Improve role clarity

laptop, notebook and pen on desk

Ambiguous role definitions can result in stress and reduced satisfaction at work. Role ambiguity occurs when an employee is unsure of their tasks, objectives and levels of authority. This lack of clarity makes it difficult for employees to complete work without disruption or conflict between stakeholders.

What’s more, role ambiguity can often be a sign of deeper issues in the organization, such as unclear leadership or poor communication practices.

You can help address this issue by seeking feedback from employees about their roles and stressors, and creating an office layout to enable more fluid communication. Speak with HR and leadership across different departments to ensure each employee’s role is both clear and non-conflicting with other components of the business.

3. Acknowledge employee performance

Employees may feel undervalued if they never receive positive feedback or rewards for their performance. As a Gallup survey found, 67% of employees whose managers addressed their strengths felt engaged at work. Ensuring positive acknowledgement of people’s work can help boost morale and incentivize self-improvement.

Employee recognition is also important, as it’s an effective way to raise happiness at work.

For example, you can improve employees’ moods by holding workplace events that reward your team for their successes. To understand what type of acknowledgements would work best for your office, you can work with HR and check in with your team to see what they feel is a fair system for positive feedback and rewards.

4. Provide health resources

employee reading a magazine and having tea

Mental health initiatives like counseling services or mental health breaks can provide more avenues for employees to seek help when they need it. By offering these resources to your team, your company can help them directly manage their mental health. Besides that, you can re-purpose any unused space for exercise, meditation or simple privacy to help employees feel more relaxed at work. This show that positive mental health is something your organization values, making it easier for employees to express their concerns or receive support.


Ultimately, improving mental health in the workplace needs the full support of a company that sincerely cares about their employees’ well-being. For facility managers to do their part, they’ll need to help develop a system and culture that includes strong feedback loops, clear roles and values as well as an emphasis on employee autonomy. With such a system in place, employees will be able to enjoy a work environment that promotes positive mental health.

Photos: Breather, Pexels, Hoài Anh Bino