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How To: Improve mental health in the workplace with a positive culture

Creating work environments where employees want to be, both physically and mentally, can have a significantly positive impact on the mental well being of any workforce. Although we take care of designing and delivering the physical space for you, your company culture, by which your business is built, is another key factor for improving and maintaining positive mental health at work. Something many employers overlook.

It’s Mental Health Awareness week, a topic we are very passionate about at Dthree and plays a huge part in why we create the spaces we create for our clients. Designing offices is not just about aesthetics. In fact, it is mostly about functionality and understanding the different working needs of your employees, to provide them with an environment that brings the best out of them.

After months spent in lockdown, being kept away from all social interactions, it is no surprise that mental health figures have hit an all time low. Business owners have a responsibility to look after their employees health and wellbeing whilst at work, and therefore your workplace and company culture has never been more important.

Despite what many believe, a positive work culture is not down to luck. It is simply about ensuring your people’s needs are kept at the forefront of the business, at all times. Keeping your staff happy, engaged and connected, results in a high spirited and productive workforce – sounds easy right? But unfortunately it is something many companies struggle to attain, especially in today’s circumstances.

One of the things we pride ourselves heavily on at Dthree, is the ‘family like’ culture we have built over the last 5 years. Throughout the pandemic and its many challenges, we have worked hard to maintain a positive energy, engagement and wellbeing of our staff, by focusing on the four C’s: Connection, Compassion, Collaboration and Celebration.

Stay connected.

Connect often: Pre lockdown this was easily achieved, either with random catch ups in the teapoint whilst grabbing a coffee or spontaneous lunch trips and after work drinks. Staying connected is not as easy in today’s circumstances. It takes a little bit more planning, thought and effort, but will ensure your team feel connected to the business at all times. Open up new platforms of communication, taking into account the different preferences of each person. The last few months we started a company slack group, whereby you can communicate with the entire team or individuals directly, via an app on your laptop and phone. After listening to our employees feedback on the negative impact communication via apps like Whatsapp had on people’s work-life balance, we decided this was a better way forward to achieve quick and easy conversations, (outside of emails) whilst also giving people back control over their work / personal time.

Everyday we also have a morning huddle over zoom, where we check in with the team and share any work related / unrelated news. These last between 15 – 45 minutes, depending on how everyone is doing and what is happening in our lives. Friday’s tend to be the shortest of the week due to sore heads from Thursdays antics, which leads us nicely on to…

Thirsty Thursdays: A weekly tradition we know and love, all too well at Dthree, and is something we enjoy just as much online. Every week we have a company team meeting, where we hear updates from the different business departments,  followed by an open forum for virtual drinks for anyone who wishes to stick around and share a beer.

Be Compassionate

Feedback is key: Listening to your employees falls under employee engagement and is vital for ensuring your employees feel valued and heard. We use an online anonymous tool to ask employees for their feedback and ways we can improve, to increase their happiness at work. Feedback helps us to gage the overall feelings in camp and gives us awareness of any challenges or issues that may be under the surface. It also helps us to improve manager and team relationships, as well as increase communication across the board by giving everyone a voice. You spoke, we heard! From these we visibly showcase changes to our employees based on popular opinions.

Remember, everyone is different: Many people will be very open and honest about how they feel during this time – and others won’t. Treat everybody with the same compassion and take note of what you’re hearing, not just what they’re saying. The pillars of our wellbeing programme address physical, mental and financial concerns and these are always on our radar. Supporting your employees has always been key to running a successful business, but in today’s world, it’s not just important, it’s expected. Wellness schemes in the workplace helps to reduce stress levels and increase happiness.  Wellness is also increased by having a clear development and progression program for employees which drives motivation and retention levels.

Collaborate where possible

Understanding the requirements of your people: Everyone works differently, our core business purpose is to “make workplaces happier.” For our clients and employees, we work hard to provide both individual and wider group solutions. Having options for employees to work flexibly is a must, especially post lockdown. Agile working increases performance, engagement and motivates employees. The office layout plays a pivotal role in fostering a specific type of employee culture. We have seen a clear shift in the market with businesses increasingly seeking more ‘people-centric’ office designs which prioritise the use of open plan and bright rooms with plenty of space for collaboration and interaction among staff.

Create a vision together: Our values are the brainchild of our employees. They resonate with every single person in the business and are the components of a universal goal and vision that is encapsulated in how we drive the business forward. Having strong values gives us a purpose, belonging and an identity. Company values also help to set expectations of behaviour and a standard we wish our employees to adhere to. Having strong values has not only improved employee communication, engagement, wellbeing and performance, it also clearly outlines an understanding of who we are as a company to anyone meeting us.

Celebrate the good times

Good news should be shared: The last year has been filled with doom and gloom, so sharing and celebrating the positives is even more important for uplifting spirits and team morale. Whether its a job well done, a new project win, a birthday, anniversary or even a new baby on the way, these are all things worth celebrating with team get together’s and celebratory incentives.

Employee recognition: We have a reward and recognition program, which is highly important and beneficial to both the business and our people. Recognition should be structured, organic and meaningful. It increases employee productivity, helps to attract and retain top talent, builds on a positive culture, creates a collaborative working environment, especially in peer to peer recognition, increases employee motivation, and increases company performances.

If your employees mental health is a priority to your business, take a look at our office design process to find out more about how we can help you improve your working environment or give us a call – we are all ears!

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