Creating a Calm Workplace
September 6, 2023
Creating a Calm Workplace
Work can be a stressful place. We deal with deadlines, difficult customers (and sometimes, difficult bosses), increased workloads due to understaffing and any number of other sources of anxiety in the office. While we can’t eliminate job-related stress completely, there are ways to create a calmer workplace, which is vital to employee well-being and contributes to greater productivity.
A calming space
Let’s start with the space itself. The more natural lighting, the better, and proper ventilation is also a must. A design that minimizes clutter will reduce stress, as will comfortable furniture and ergonomic workstations.
Flexibility in design also contributes to a balanced and calm workplace. Beyond traditional workstations, include quiet spaces for focused work, and furniture appropriate for lounging on breaks or for collaborative work.
Plants and natural greenery reduce stress and improve air quality. Whether it’s an indoor plant wall, individual plants scattered through the office or a rooftop garden or other outdoor space for breaks, look for every opportunity to include some greenery in your office environment.
And while you’re planning a calm and attractive space, don’t forget your employees’ ears. Nothing raises stress levels like an overly loud workplace. Noise reduction strategies might include acoustical panels to reduce ambient sound, or designated quiet zones. If your space doesn’t allow for those, consider issuing noise-cancelling headphones as appropriate.
The human side of workplace calm
Not all stress is created by the physical space, of course. Employees who are engaged and feel valued are likely to report lower stress levels. You can start by asking for employee input on the components of the physical space noted above. Don’t assume that you know what’s best … ask for team input. Some organizations establish wellness committees to address such concerns.
Lower stress is also a hallmark of organizations that promote healthy habits and work-life balance for their workers. Consider hybrid and remote work arrangements, put limits on the number of meetings and set clear limitations and expectations for after-hours communications related to work.
Consider offering stress management seminars or workshops, and resources for dealing with workplace stress. Your organizational culture has a big impact on stress levels, also. Encourage open and respectful communication and foster an environment in which team members know their work is appreciated.
We’ll never make work stress-free, and probably shouldn’t. But while a little stress can improve performance, too much can lead to decreased performance, burnout and health issues, and no one wants that for their team. Consider both the physical space and the culture-related items above, and you can be on your way to a calmer workplace.
Questions about how to match teaching and learning styles? Contact Douron.