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We’ve all experienced some form of stress—it’s nothing new. Work is frequently cited as one of the largest sources of stress in people's lives—whether that’s the office, home, or a third place. Employers who provide the right resources to address their employees’ emotional and physical well-being will build a more resilient workforce—with the ability to “bounce back” from adverse conditions and stress. They will also have an easier time attracting and retaining the best performing, most talented people.
Download our eBook to learn more about the “whys” and “hows” of stress management for work, including:
As many as 30 percent of employees report feeling frequently or constantly burned out at work. Organizations can help buffer employees from stress and burnout through design. Workspaces that give people access to the specific resources they need—in the office and working from home—can reduce stress, improve performance, and attract and retain top talent.
Controlled noise levels, daylight access, healthy air quality, comfortable temperature, inviting aesthetics, connection to nature/greenery
Smart plan configurations and wayfinding with landmarks, visual access, architectural differentiation, and signage
Elements adapt to the user and/or activity, such as height-adjustable tables, adjustable ergonomic task seating, lighting, orientation/placement of workspace, screens
Appropriate proximity and ease of interaction with coworkers—in person and virtually
Design, leadership, and “lived” values that promote trust and transparency
Some people have an internal ability to “step up” to challenges and maintain the appearance of normal performance in times of stress. While these individuals may seem better equipped to handle stress, continuous exposure to stressors will take its toll. This chronic stress most often leads to burnout, which can cause once top performers to experience perpetual exhaustion, alienation from their work, and poor performance. However, people whose employers provide resiliency resources are less likely to experience chronic stress and burnout.
See our research on stress and burnout in the “Resilience at Work” white paper.
Some of the most empathetic and highest performing individuals are those with sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), which results in a heightened response to stimuli and stress. This group accounts for roughly 30 percent of the population. Also associated with a wide range of cognitive conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, and PTSD, SPS can put an individual at greater risk for chronic stress and burnout. This makes it extremely important to bolster their resources against stressors in the workplace.
With today’s office serving as a hub for connection, it needs to be more dynamic than ever, offering resources that help people feel a sense of community and alignment to their organizational culture. Values, policy, and leadership are important. In terms of space design, individuals will experience the same built environment in different ways. However, toools and technology, legibility, and culture are generally the most influential resources in the office. Adding resources in these categories tends to be most beneficial in mitigating stress and improving performance by up to 22 percent. On the other hand, if these resources are lacking, performance could decrease by as much.
With our Work from Anywhere ecosystem here to stay, people are continuing to work at least part of the time at home and in third places. This makes tools and technology to collaborate and stay in touch some of the most important resources an organization can furnish to its offsite employees. Other resource categories valued by remote workers include user control and ambient qualities. People working from home will appreciate a space that supports them in their work activities—similar to the office. Providing them with height-adjustable desks, ergonomic seating, and/or desk lighting can go a long way. Adding resource offerings such as these can contribute to a performance increase (or decrease, if lacking) of up to 27 percent.
Empower Your Workforce: Download Our Free eBook on Stress Management. Discover practical strategies to reduce employee stress, build resilience, and cultivate a thriving workplace.
Check out our Spark articles on stress management for work and get tips for building a more resilient workforce through design and culture.
Chief among the reasons people hesitate to go back to the office are concerns about health and safety. Many also like the flexibility of working from home and having no commute. To get people back in the workplace, leaders need to do two things: address fears and remain flexible.
Learn how to successfully bring your workforce back to the office and get eight tips for workplace redesign projects.