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Design To Beat Office Stress – Or Face The Consequences

Design To Beat Office Stress – Or Face The Consequences

$300 bn per year.

That’s the cost of work-related stress to the US economy, according to new figures.

Meanwhile, UK figures from the Health and Safety Executive’s report in 2015/16 told a similarly bleak story – 11.7 million work days over the course of the year lost to workplace stress, amounting to 37% of all ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. Across Europe, it cost around £17 bn per year.

And that was before Brexit meant Brexit.

The writing’s on the office wall, strong and clear – workplace stress can’t be ignored. If you try, there’s every chance it’ll cripple your business.

But what to do about it? Believe it or not, experts are saying solutions should be designed in to the initial build and any subsequent revamp of office interiors. Ben van Berkel, founder of architectural design firm UNStudio, recently told Dezeen online that big companies would be installing breakout pods within their designs soon, to combat ‘epidemic’ levels of workplace stress.

There’s a certain inevitable hippiness to the idea of building stress-relieving pods into your office, especially given that they will apparently be multi-functional – allowing workers to meditate, get their yogi on, go completely wild and smash things, drum to their heavy metal heart’s content, enjoy pretty tactile light shows, or just indulge in a little light screaming.

Come on, you know you’ve wanted to.

The idea of building these multi-adaptable pods into office designs to ‘reset’ workers during the course of their stressful, deadline-hectic, high-demand, buy, sell, what-do-you-mean-the-photocopier’s-in-Paraguay? days has an in-built smirk attached to it, simply because the business culture is accustomed to seeing stress as a weakness suffered only by those who can’t hack it.

But the figures can’t be fought, and the billions of pounds worth of lost revenue and productivity are no joke to anyone – from stressed-out office workers to increasingly insecure businesses, to national and international economies. Ask yourself which is more ridiculous: the idea of building in pods – or at least adaptable spaces – that allow staff to purge themselves of their daily stresses…or going bust because your business is crippled by stressed-out, officially sick workers, raising your temp costs and lowering your expertise and your productivity hour by hour by hour.

Stressful thought, isn’t it?

Step this way…there’s a pod for that.

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