Stress in the workplace is no stranger to anyone, and it’s become an epidemic problem that company owners are recently trying to prevent. Research has found that stress-related illness costs the US economy $300 billion a year. There are many steps that individuals can take to try and reduce their stress levels at work, such as staying organised, taking deeps breaths and eating well. There’s only so much you can do to try and keep your stress under control, but if your workplace environment is messy, loud and constantly busy, your stress-relieving methods will prove to be useless.
Workplace design is crucial in helping your employees to feel relaxed and stress-free. The international architectural design company, UNStudio, looked at the cost of stress-related illness around the world and from looking at the numbers realised just how much of an urgency around this topic there really was. UNStudio’s founder, Ben van Berkel, has recently worked with design agency, Scape, to create secluded pods with a variety of stress reduction techniques for their office in Amsterdam.
These pods include a variation of both active and passive activities which have been proven to reduce stress levels. These activities include yoga, drumming and even singing. What’s useful about this strategy is that everyone is different and likes to relieve themselves from stress in different ways. Perhaps one day you feel emotionally stressed whereas the next you feel physically stressed. All of these activities are designed to help your employees relax which ultimately will increase productivity levels. It’s not enough for companies to just demand more productivity. It is important for them to prevent their staff from burning out and feeling too overwhelmed.
Another company that has really opened its mind to adopting stress relief methods in the workplace is Inchoo. Together with Bonavia Design, they created a ‘Jungle Room’ equipped with lanterns, fairy lights and ropes hanging from the ceiling. Not only is it mystical, but its natural aesthetics create an extremely relaxing atmosphere. This room is open to all of the employees who feel stressed and need some space to themselves. As well as the jungle room, they have allocated curtained-off sections of the office where employees can go to get some privacy – something that’s particularly important especially in open-plan offices.
As these may seem like extreme methods to help relieve stress, there are many steps that you can take as a company that doesn’t involve such high costs or renovating. A great example of this would be to fill your office with plants. Plants help to absorb airborne pollutants and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air. They look great and it’s easy to find plants that are suitable for indoors and require minimal attention. Choosing the right colours for your office is also extremely beneficial to preventing high-stress levels. Blue is a great colour, especially for busy offices, as it promotes calmness and encourages the minds to stay stimulated.
While it’s important for companies to take their employees’ stress levels seriously, it is also your responsibility as a worker to help prevent stress in all aspects of your life. Although easier said than done, there are simple steps to take that can help you stay stress-free. Such steps include ensuring you stick to a healthy diet and avoid resorting to alcohol or fast-food as comfort, exercising as often as possible (even if it’s just a stroll around the park) and creating boundaries between your personal and work life. While it’s obvious people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, simple boundaries such as not answering the phone during dinner will help to reduce stress levels.