Updated: Aug 31
Chronic workplace stress and emotional tension are phenomena that can cause burnout syndrome. Experts affirm that this is affecting more and more professionals and it is directly associated with daily work life. The Daily Arq analyzed this and proposed solutions on how to improve mental health in shared working spaces.
Chronic workplace stress can be related to “operational aspects of the job but also the physical environment”.
“We spend on average 1/3 of our day in workspaces, so it's no wonder they considerably affect our mental health. Following a period of intense home office activity during the year 2020, now people are returning to collaborative workplaces. These spaces offer a great alternative to escape the domestic environment and create separate places for each function of our lives, a much-needed change after a year of isolation”.
Coworking spaces started to be a hit since they first appeared in 2005, this type of business challenged the ‘commons’ ways of designing and building working spaces. But experts affirm that even if they propose a ‘cool and trendy’ place for daily work life, it doesn't ensure a healthy work environment, physically and mentally.
“Neuroarchitecture has been demonstrating how environments can influence human behavior by studying the interactions between our brain and architecture, which can alter our emotional state, providing a sense of calm, tranquility, increasing productivity and focus, or the complete opposite”.
The Daily Arq proposed 5 design strategies that could ensure a user’s well-being in shared workspaces:
Versatile furniture: According to British studies, individual standing desks are very important and offer numerous benefits such as “reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and even some types of cancer, such as prostate and ovarian cancer. Experts recommend working at least two hours a day standing up". Also, it makes work less monotonous!
Isolation vs Interaction: Spaces designed in order to create interaction as well as spaces created for isolation are very important. People can choose the optimal space for each specific moment and task they need to complete. “ Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for more isolated workspaces to reduce the risk of contamination. The Arcoworking project, for example, was based on the concept of a dynamic environment that encourages people to meet each other, but the design also features more secluded spaces.”
Multipurpose Rooms: Working eight hours a day in front of a computer screen can be very counterproductive and unhealthy, that is why workspaces should offer different kinds of places that incentivize people to do any kinds of activities “ Many coworking facilities have rooms with music and illustrations on the walls or viewpoints on the balcony or terrace overlooking the landscape to help users rest their eyes and their mind”.
Biophilia: Nature is very important when it comes to mental health and well-being. By incorporating elements and aspects of nature into the working space environment such as ”water, plants, daylight, and natural materials such as wood and stone. Using more organic shapes and silhouettes rather than straight lines is also a key feature in biophilic designs, as well as establishing visual relationships between light and shadow, for example.”
Outdoor Areas: Outdoor areas have proven to be very important, especially now, regarding the pandemic. “Outdoor areas in coworking spaces can be achieved through small patios, backyards, or gardens, as well as rooftops. The goal is to provide fresh air and access to the weather outside”.
At MKThink we are constantly thinking and experimenting with how space impacts us. We test and measure, looking for traditional and non-traditional approaches to solutions such as "should offices be comfortable and happy or productive and efficient?". Are those complimentary or mutually exclusive? And how would we measure it? We love new challenges, so let us know what you're working on. At the very least we can give you a few new ideas to think about!