Improving The Psychology Of Employees: How Office Designs Can Promote Mental Health

To create a pleasant workspace, employees are encouraged to make their desks and the surrounding area as enjoyable as possible. Purchasing flowers or art can promote a healthier environment where the workers’ mental health is not jeopardized, as working in a typical office setting may be mentally draining.To get a better idea of how to create a healthy workplace, we spoke with Yasmin Refaei, an organizational and industrial psychologist who works at nine psychology and 07 therapy.

Getting her two cents on how we can enhance our work environment, in addition to psychology, Refaei is also well experienced in the Human Resources sector as an HR manager, which made her advocate the importance of adding the element of human touch into the workplace.

Refaei started off by stating that, “the previous few years have really demonstrated to us that health encompasses much more than just our physical well-being. Our mental health has also been greatly impacted by the pandemic. For this reason, employees are thoroughly reassessing their priorities as nearly a third of our lives are typically spent at work.”

Refaei then provided various solutions for such matters, one in particular caught our attention as she spoke about the benefits of nature and color in the office:

“Colors have the capacity to change our moods and positively influence our mental health. For example, the color green is a color that is found to relieve stress and amplify our mood.” – Yasmine Refaei

Refaei emphasized the concept of “biophilia” in the workplace which includes incorporating natural and tangible materials like wood, brick walls, and natural fibers. Using these materials can not only reduce stress but also improve memory and allow employees to increase their self-awareness in the here-and-now moment. The utilization of natural elements like plants and greenery has also been proven to reduce stress levels significantly.

Refaei’s focus then shifted towards the incorporation of “ergonomics,” which is defined as the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs according to humanscale. Ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing discomfort. Refaei explained how firms can make the switch from poor desk setups that usually affect joints causing fatigue to supportive chairs, height-adjustable desks, and footrests to allow for more comfort.

As businesses continue to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic talk of mental health in the workplace is becoming more and more prevalent. Refaei explained that companies have gotten a chance to see how to best improve employees day to day by making simple changes.

“It is important to understand then that the office setting itself helps employees feel inspired, engaged, and comfortable as the future of workplace design is all about promoting mental health and wellbeing by creating an environment that gives the employees a sense of belonging, a sense of peacefulness, a sense of safety and above all else a sense of humanity.” – Yasmine Refaei

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