- Posted on: 18 July 2022
- By: Hushoffice Team
79% of companies had a surge in mental health support requests during the pandemic. 79% probably sounds about right to you. It does to us — there’s just no denying how tough it’s been. The question is, how do we foster relaxation in the office and help alleviate the stress we’re all feeling?
The pandemic was next-level stressful.
Nearly 1/3 of adults said they were so stressed, they struggled to make basic decisions like what to wear. 2 in 3 Americans said their sleep was fundamentally off. The societal and lifestyle disruptions were even tied to measurable brain inflammation, which affects mental health.
When we’re relaxed, we do our best work. In fact, 90% of top performers have a high EQ and can keep cool under pressure. In other words, their ability to remain relaxed is key to their success.
The fact is, fight-or-flight shuts down critical thinking and other higher-order skills.
This is scientifically proven. People don’t think clearly when they’re stressed out. Ever have a shocking or startling event cause you to seize up completely? Your brain seemed to turn off, right? Well, stressful events are proven to hinder executive function.
Stress can also make us clumsy with our words, hurting work relationships.
When we’re flustered, we can misunderstand others. The “right” words aren’t likely to occur. Our emotions can take the wheel, causing reactivity. And we can only process about ½ of what’s coming in, so we most probably miss vital details.
Stress can wreck creativity, too.
Recall the last time you were pressed to come up with an idea on the spot. Everyone watching. Your ingenuity was probably MIA. Because when you’re nervous/stressed, physiological resources are allocated toward vigilance, meaning your brain power fuels survival over creative cognition.
Stress is a ruthless imagination-killer! It’s shown to mess with the processes key to creativity, like task switching. In fact, the three systems within the brain that form innovative thought are the very same three systems most negatively impacted by stress. Now naturally, we’re all a little on edge at the moment, unsure of what the future holds. To ease worries, we think it’s imperative that the office promote relaxation through its variety of social and private spaces — it can help employees settle into a healthy, focused workflow as they return to the workplace– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.
Since excessive stress derails work performance, let the office foster relaxation.
The problems and opportunities upon us are complex — we must be in fine form, mentally, emotionally, and so on, to fully capitalize upon the now. So let’s try to relax. Relaxation is the antidote to stress. It’s the medicine.
A few pointers – a relaxing office environment:
Calming color palette
- Decluttered and streamlined
Organic materials like wool, wood, bamboo, bricks, stone, glass, and steel
Private work pods for heads-down, uninterrupted focus
Shared spaces divided into smaller, cozier ones (see the hushWall double-sided divider)
Plenty of greenery
Peaceful office acoustics (see: The quick, comprehensive guide to office noise)
Kawaii style, since “cute” things are stress-relieving
As a rule of thumb, aim to accommodate the needs of neurodivergent employees in all you do to retrofit the office for relaxed hybrid working. When you accommodate neurodiversity, you ultimately accommodate a broad spectrum of preferences, making everyone more at ease in the office.
Give employees a handful of comfortable environments for work, rest, and socialization.
By providing multiple spaces in the office for multiple needs, you boost autonomy; people will seek out the right space for the moment. They’ll protect their mental bandwidth, never overloaded by the floor’s activity. The transition back to the office will be smoother for everyone.
Encourage frequent breaks, too — an essential part of a healthy workflow.
According to Professor Ericsson from Florida State, 90-minute work sessions are ideal. To spot common denominators, he closely observed elite performers, finding that the best of the best practice for no more than 90 minutes at a time. This is because we’re built to switch between work and rest.
Frequent breaks can do wonders to foster a relaxed work environment. Breaks prevent mental fatigue. Tunnel vision, too. When we’re too laser-focused, we miss the forest for the trees and get tuckered out. Just a 10-minute chat with a colleague can open up one’s mind, revealing a different angle they hadn’t seen before– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.
Here’s some fun food for thought: How “isolation” pods make the office more social, not less
Consider the hushMeet.L modular office booth. The ultimate hang spot? We think so.
We recommend hushMeet.L if you want a flexible alternative to the structural break room. It’s movable by pallet jack and can be expanded or scaled back to seat 4, 6, or 8 employees without wasting any space. It’s also acoustic — engineered to the Class B standard per ISO 23351-1:2020, giving employees inside guaranteed speech privacy while blocking out irritating office noise. So it’s a perfect space for private discussions, no worry of being overheard, or casual gatherings, no possibility of bothering others– says Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.
Or there’s hushAccess.L — the ADA-compliant version of hushMeet.L
“Hush” for the quiet it provides. “Access” for wheelchair accessibility. “L” because it is large enough to seat up employees comfortably 🙂
Pods are a terrific fix for hybrid teams.
They’re mobile, responding to change, a long-term asset. They’re acoustically sound, giving users a lulling ambiance. And they’re fully featured for quick, convenient use. Check out the Hushoffice collection of work pods to see what the buzz is all about.
Have a question? Leave it for us here!
Relax in the office – frequently asked questions
What is a privacy booth?
Privacy booths for the office are freestanding acoustic structures for independent work, collaborative meetings, hybrid video calls, or all of the above.
How can I make my office less stressful?
Opt for a calming color palette. Declutter and streamline. Use organic materials like wool, wood, bamboo, bricks, stone, glass, and steel. Implement private work pods like hushWork.sit&stand, and quiet meeting booths like hushMeet. Divide open spaces into smaller, more inviting spaces (check out the hushWall large partition for a model of multifunctionality). Bring in lots of plants. And master the office’s acoustics.
What is the best office pod for phone calls?
HushPhone is one of the best pods for calls in the office. It muffles loud talkers and halfalogues. Its interior is minimal for peak concentration — an atmosphere that gives the introverted and the easily distracted peace-and-quiet to focus on their calls. Lights and ventilation are adjustable. It’s Class B (per ISO 23351-1:2020) giving employees guaranteed speech privacy and professional speech intelligibility. The office call booth is mobile, too, for easy relocation around the floor or to a new building.