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Tuesday, 02 April 2019 10:34

Mental Health and the working environment – part 2

We can probably all agree that we spend a LOT of our time at work. Our own work space can often feel like an area where we’re not in control. Given the impact that our physical environment can have on our mental health, it’s easy to see how a disorderly workspace can lead to increased stress or exacerbate other underlying mental health issues.

Whether it’s an untidy desk space, poor lighting, noisy colleagues, or even topics of conversation within the office that make you feel uncomfortable, unwelcome elements in a workplace can sometimes be difficult to overcome, no matter how minor they may seem. It all adds up – and can make or break the enjoyment of being in the working environment.

However, that doesn’t mean that everything is out of your control. Here, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you regain control of your working environment and ensure that those little niggles don’t become the final straw of an already stressful day.

Here's part 2 of our guide to improving your working environment. 

Time away from desk

Ensuring you actually have a little break from your desk really does make a huge difference. And the irony here is that the reason people often don’t do this is because they’re ‘too busy’! It’s likely that these are the individuals who will benefit the most from stepping away for 10 minutes to have some breathing space. So, make sure you take a break when things are getting too much; you’ll often find you’re in a much better place afterwards.

Conversation topics

There are times when the topics of conversation in the office can be the cause of discomfort – whether it’s because somebody’s talking about something that hits close to home, or just something you’re uncomfortable discussing in a workplace. This can be a tricky situation to deal with without causing unnecessary friction. Excusing yourself from the conversation is often easier said than done, and asking people to change topic can come across confrontational. Depending on your relationship with your colleagues, most people won’t mind discussing something else if you say you’re uncomfortable, so don’t be afraid to ask, especially if you feel it’s having a detrimental effect on your mood.

Food & drink

Does your workplace have a ‘bring cakes on your birthday’ rule? The constant stream of cakes in the office can be great, but it can also have a negative impact on mood. It could be that you’re trying to watch your weight so the constant influx in sweet treats just adds more pressure. It could be that you’re happy to have the occasional cake, but the sugars in treats have a negative effect on your mood.
So, what can you do about it? This can be a tricky on to deal with, as it involves getting agreement from everybody in your workspace on how to move forward. But putting forward suggestions of limiting office cakes to perhaps once a month (regardless of birthdays!), or to swap cakes for healthier snacks, and not necessarily fruit which can also be high in sugar, can have a positive impact on everybody’s mental and physical health.

Dogs at work

This is Betty. She’s in our office 99% of the time, and is always open to cuddles, treats, and walks. She’s can be an absolute godsend on a stressful day.
There’s plenty of research to show that dogs in the workplace have a positive impact, on both mental and physical health. If a regular dog in the office isn’t feasible, then you could suggest a ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’ or similar.
Obviously make sure that you check everybody in the office is okay with dogs, and that if multiple people are bringing a dog in on the same day that they’re happy to socialise with other dogs.

 

So, there we have it – a few simple ways to help ensure your working environment isn’t having a detrimental effect on your mental health. Remember, if things are getting too much for you, whether in the workplace or otherwise, it’s always better to talk through potential problems before they become too big. Speak to somebody you trust – a friend, family member, or colleague; and if your workplace has them, a Mental Health First Aider. We have training courses for this.

 

 

Read 67 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 April 2019 10:36

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