Mental Health and The Workplace

Business Insights
23/01/2019

The average Briton will spend over 10,000 days at work during their lifetime; To put it into perspective, the average lifespan in the UK is 29,500 days. This is a long time, and over that time you will inevitably have a lot of ups and a lot of downs that will affect your Mental Wellbeing, both personally and work related.


Poor Mental Health is one of the biggest drains on the NHS and society in general. It may surprise you to know that 1 in 4 adults will experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. This means that in an average sized office of 20 people, you or 5 of your colleagues are most likely to be going through something right now - all whilst being expected to maintain peak levels of performance and pretending that everything is fine.


In 2017/18, of all reported work related ill health cases, 44% (roughly 600,000) were due to stress, depression or anxiety. This translated to around 15.4 million days of lost work, that we know of;


As the workforce is the biggest running cost to most businesses, this revelation represents a huge problem for the UK. What’s worse is that most people simply fail to recognise it. Mental Health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK and costs the economy an estimated £105 billion per year - which is more than the entire yearly cost for NHS (England ).


Predominantly, workplace stresses take the form of increased workloads, tight deadlines and too much pressure or responsibility without freedom. As the modern open plan office comes with too many restrictions and distractions (such as fixed desks, noise pollution, disruptions from colleagues and emails amongst the many) productivity suffers dramatically. The work just isn’t getting done on time. It backs up and causes stressful situations and interpersonal rifts. If you couple this with stresses from personal lives that hitch a ride into the workspace, then it’s easy to see how employees can quickly develop a multitude of mental health issues.


Manchester based Workplace Consultants, Nuo Workplace, say putting your staff first and creating an environment suitable for them and how they work can go a long way towards removing many factors which greatly influence the onset of work related mental health problems.


Depending upon your circumstances, applying a simple splash of colour or tactile furnishings and biophilia can be a great start towards fostering a nicer environment. Or, you could take it to the extreme and create a fully integrated and technology enabled smart office. An office that dynamically adapts its environment to conditions such as humidity, temperature, light and noise levels to suit its occupants.


According to Spatial Office Environments, for most offices, if it’s furnished appropriately to allow for effective task based and flexible working practices along with collaboration and focus based working, you’re on to a winner.


Getting it right takes time, planning and expertise along with a willingness from business owners to take a leap of faith and to invest. By engaging with workplace consultants like Nuo or Spatial, you can create an office environment that has the technology and the facilities to allow your workforce to perform at their optimum. The biggest returns being higher staff retention; greater productivity and profit; and much lower levels of mental health related absences; It’s about time UK businesses truly invested in their people.


Contact Nuo Workplace on bbp@nuo-workplace.co.uk | 0161 696 0095

Contact Spatial Office Environments on cm@spatial.co.uk | 0161 850 5620