If the thought of arriving at the office fills you with dread, it might not be your job which is the problem.
Our surroundings have a big impact on our stress levels and well being.
Our office environments have traditionally been dreary places, with dull colour schemes and generic furniture. But more and more people are realising that making a few small tweaks to their office environment can be surprisingly powerful.
Add some plants
It is no coincidence that many of the coolest offices are full of plants. Adding a touch of green to your office space can have a remarkable impact on stress levels.
Not only will it improve air quality, but studies have shown that plants improve our psychological health. The effect is particularly noticeable in office spaces, where plants are proven to reduce stress, increase productivity and boost resilience.
Some office spaces are taking their greenery seriously, incorporating indoor or rooftop gardens.
Make sure you opt for hardy plants which can survive weekends and require minimal care. Aloe, spider plants, ivy, and peace lilies are all excellent choices. Hanging planters can make the best use of limited space.
Switch to a standing desk
Just like being away from nature, sitting all day is not natural and can be seriously harmful. If you work in an office, the chances are high that you spend most of your day sitting down. Switching to a standing desk can reduce blood sugar spikes, improve heart health, alleviate back and neck pain, and boost your metabolism.
Better health means less stress. Standing desks also have a direct impact on mental health. In one study, 87% of people who switched to them reported increased energy.
Ongoing research is revealing that standing desks decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. Healthier, happier people are also more productive at work.
Try an adjustable desk which can be raised or lowered as required. Spending half your day sitting and half standing is recommended, especially while adjusting to the change of working style.
Declutter the office space
A chaotic work environment more often than not means a chaotic mind. Clutter is visually distracting and can lead to stress due to the time wasted in finding what you need.
Taking the time to clear surfaces, organise drawers and throw away rubbish can turn a stressful workplace serene. This need not take hours of effort – a few minutes at the end of each day is easily long enough.
The best way to keep your office tidy is to get rid of anything unnecessary, not to waste valuable time organising it. Consider scanning documents rather than keeping paper copies, giving away duplicate stationery and equipment, and moving distracting items out of your line of vision.
Improve the light quality
Most offices are lit with fluorescent strip lights in a bid to reduce electricity bills. However, harsh artificial lights are not only toxic for the environment, they are also harmful to those who work beneath them.
The risks include migraines, disrupted sleep, anxiety, and increased stress. Flickering lights and the buzzing sound they commonly emit can be distracting and harsh on the eyes too.
Reducing stress at work is largely about creating an environment that is as natural as possible and suits your biology. The perfect way to do this is by getting exposure to natural light.
A number of small changes can be made to reduce the stress caused by poor lighting. If possible, try sitting by a window and keeping lights off during times when natural light is enough. Adding a specially designed filter which widens the light spectrum can alleviate the impact on stress levels.
A calm mind leads to better quality work, more innovation and enhanced creativity, if you would like assistance turning your office environment into a more calming and productive place then contact us for more information.