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Prevent mental health issues in the workplace through good design

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John Sherman
2018-10-16

Over the past year, numerous news reports have surfaced about people with mental illness going into a current or former workplace to injure or kill. While some of these people had an existing mental health issue, others either developed or worsened a problem while employed by a specific company.

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As more organizations shed light on the growing issue of mental health among the workforce, it becomes apparent that all business owners should make changes. Although you cannot eliminate someone’s anxiety, depression, or paranoia, you can take steps to prevent this type of issue from developing within your company through good design.

Today, it is relatively common to find companies that encourage their employees to talk openly about issues. In fact, some organizations have counselors on staff who listen to employees’ problems and try to guide them through various situations. These positive steps are certainly helpful, but they are not sufficient for workplace health and stress issues.

While it is not always easy to put together an excellent work structure, properly formulate tasks, and build and encourage relationships, the time and effort that you and your leadership teams invest is worthwhile.

Components of a healthy work environment

  1. Health and Safety
  2. Employee Involvement
  3. Balance Between Work and Life
  4. Employee Recognition
  5. Employee Growth and Development

Workplace design solutions

  • Health and Safety – It is imperative you provide your employees with a healthy and safe work environment. Regardless of the type or size of your company, make sure you stay compliant with government regulations and laws. Also, have a company policy in place regarding decluttered walkways and hallways, proper lighting, a fire suppression system, good air quality, and so on. Take air quality as a perfect example of preventing mental health issues at work. When people cannot see well enough to do their job, they experience eye strain, headaches, muscle fatigue, and overall tiredness. Each one of those things alone is enough to cause stress, anxiety, and even depression. Combine them, and you could have a serious problem.
  • Employee Involvement – Involving your staff is another critical component. Whether engaging them in casual or business conversations, having them jump in on a project, giving them the lead in planning a community event, or allowing them to take online training courses that will enhance their knowledge and skill, you will see a significant change in morale. The more your team feels as though it is part of something important, the better it will perform. In response to that, you can expect to see higher customer satisfaction, increased profit, and even fewer quality defects. The goal is to identify the things that motivate your employees and then act on them.
  • Balance Between Work and Life – Perhaps of all reasons mental health issues exist in the workplace is that people try to do too much at home and work. Take the opportunity to come up with creative solutions. Schedule a meeting with the leaders of the different departments to understand the challenges at hand. If your company employs a lot of young parents, you might consider adding an on-site daycare center or if they drive long distances to work each day, think about establishing a telecommuting program.
  • Employee Recognition –Recognition has a huge impact on employees. Unfortunately, many companies only acknowledge employees who accomplish some great feat, meaning entry-level workers without the same opportunities go unnoticed. Create a system whereby department heads identify employees who stand out for things like not missing a day of work within a given month, volunteering for a “grunt” job without complaining, or coming up with an excellent idea. Especially when recognition comes from management, it has a huge impact. The person on the receiving end feels appreciated and noticed, which supports good mental health.
  • Employee Growth and Development – Most people want to advance their careers, whether in their current department or somewhere else within the organization. Although a better job might come along, they want to stay with their employer, just not become stagnant. Devise a plan that allows for both growth and development. One option is with online training courses. Offering eLearning as a perk of working for your company prepares your employees for greater things that will benefit them and the business as a whole.

Additional considerations

Also, incorporate live plants into the décor. Oversized greenery combined with strategically placed water features have a calming effect on the workplace environment. You will discover that your employees have an easier time focusing, which increases their productivity.

Outstanding online training

For the training aspect of your company, Go1 has the right solution. We offer a vast library of related topics that will give your employees purpose. Have your leadership determine specific courses on an employee-by-employee basis and then make this a standard offer.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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