What’s one of the first things people point to when it comes to calming office design? Color. According to the Huffington Post, blue and green are good choices. Blue relaxes us because of its association with the ocean; green has the same effect because of its association with nature. But there are many other colors to choose from, such as pastel shades like lavendar or pale yellow. Avoid going heavy on intense colors, like red and orange. These may best be used as accents, if at all.
Training magazine says a workplace garden has a lot of potential for enhancing the work environment. First, it gives staff a chance to take a break from their computer screens by actually walking away from the computer. Instead of checking Facebook and Twitter, they can spend a few calming minutes tending to plants. Second, if you choose to plant fruits, vegetables or herbs, you’ll be promoting a healthy lifestyle at work. And third, you can promote teamwork by assigning small groups to take care of specific plots—compose these groups of staff who don’t work together to build a more integrated team.
If your business gets hectic around certain times of year, try imitating Albany-based tax accountants Teal, Becker and Chiaramonte. The company offers several stress-relieving perks to its employees during tax season, including the occasional Friday happy hour and catered lunches when staff has to work on Saturdays. A chiropractor has even advised the business on its seating and other ergonomic topics. If the budget doesn’t allow for these kinds of luxuries, your office could still do things like providing discounts for gym memberships, or hosting lunch n’ learn sessions on stress relief and healthy eating.
Open office layouts have become the new trend. But there’s also been a push for spaces where people can work in privacy if they need to. So Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking partnered with Steelcase to design spaces meant for introverts. Right now, however, the spaces start at $15,0000. Facilities managers can do something similar by designating a room for quiet working. Think of little-used rooms that could double as a quiet space. For example, if you have a room that’s reserved for visiting staff based in other cities, you could use that space as a quiet room when it’s not being used for hoteling.
Going outdoors is a great antidote to the repetition of office life. Workers can boost their creativity, mentally reset and relieve stress by getting out of the cubicle for awhile if they have a place to do so. Try setting up patio tables or chairs outside the facility. You could also set up furniture or benches on the roof (which could also be a good spot for an outdoor garden). If you’re in the middle of an urban landscape with not a leaf in sight, set up plants throughout the building, or consider options for increasing daylight in the office.
While you can’t totally eliminate stress from the workplace, there are many different ways you can create an environment that reduces it. These five are just the start. What does your own company do to combat workplace stress?
photo credit: Tomas Caspers via photopin cc