FM Clinic: Improving wellbeing in the workplace
FLEXIBLE OFFICE SPACE SUPPLIER’S VIEW
CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, OFFICE SPACE IN TOWN
Keeping up with the growing expectations for employers and businesses to provide for the mental wellbeing of their employees is key for talent attraction and retention. There are now a multitude of ways in which FMs can help do this, and not all need cost the earth.
As a first step, FMs and employers should reflect on their current working culture. Creating the right culture where staff feel appreciated, rewarded and trusted is integral in supporting workers to maintain a healthy relationship with their job, and subsequently their mental health. Encouraging an open and honest dialogue and supporting employees through health assistance programmes is a valuable way of raising general awareness of mental health, which in turn can promote a sense of inclusivity and reduces the stigma associated with these conditions.
It’s not just about being reactive. FMs should consider proactive initiatives such as introducing an all-staff training programme to encourage staff to recognise stress and mental health concerns in themselves and among other team members making sure stress isn’t left unchecked – a safeguard I’ve introduced across my own business. Not only does this build an important foundation for a company’s culture of recognition and support around stress and mental health concerns, it cultivates a supportive team environment by encouraging an open dialogue among team members that also helps to minimise stress at work.
We’re also increasingly spending more and more time apart from colleagues, with the rise of remote working, hotdesking and the advances in technology. However, simple human connections are often an under-appreciated driver of wellbeing. Employers should therefore prioritise the social element of work such as break out spaces and team socials and foster a community within the workplace. Firms need to be more creative in how they encourage social interaction in the workplace. Introducing regular opportunities for social interaction such as bake sales, quizzes and sporting competitions can go a long way to fostering a strong sense of community. We’ve also found that this can be helped through the physical office environment – for example, modifying the office layout, through creating ‘collision points’ such as centralising the printer, dining spaces, coffee machines and water fountains can foster more spontaneous social interactions that can help build on this sense of community and boost wellbeing.
By taking simple steps to encourage a kinder, closer culture and community within the workplace, employers can help support employee wellbeing, mitigate employee stress and encourage a happier, motivated workforce. It’s just these little changes that can make a huge difference to the health of our employees while allowing us to reap the rewards as a business.