Issue 2 2022

4 Time to Talk: Creating workspaces to support mental wellbeing As the UK urges more people to talk about their mental health for Time to Talk day, global workplace creation expert, Unispace, has highlighted the need for employers to optimise their workspace to enable an open dialogue with employees in a hybrid world of work. In its recent study, The Reluctant Returner – which combined the results of an in-depth survey of 3,000 office workers, 2,750 employers and interviews with global senior leaders – Unispace uncovered how satisfied respondents are with their lives at the moment, with a result slightly above average (6.5). When asked how remote working had impacted their mental wellbeing, respondents were split, with only one in two indicating it had positively affected them. With 32% of UK office workers indicating that they find it easier to communicate with colleagues from home, that does suggest many are struggling to converse as effectively outside of the physical workspace. The study further revealed that 80% found it easier to have private conversations from home, which was largely driven by the lack of available private space in the office. According to Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, as companies reopen their doors once again, employers need to encourage better personal communication both in and out of the office: “With more companies looking to return to the office again following the removal of calls to work from home where possible, businesses face a fine balancing act when it comes to the mental wellbeing of staff in the workplace. Having faced such uncertainty and with almost half feeling their mental health had been positively impacted in a work from home environment, encouraging staff to talk openly needs to be a priority to make a return to the office successful.” “For many businesses, this isn’t easy for a number of reasons. First and foremost, few workplaces are set up in a way that encourages personal conversations between colleagues – whether face to face or virtually between offices. And where staff are working remotely, it can be difficult to replicate natural conversation where the technology doesn’t gel with the flow of office and remote set-ups. As we look to move on from the impact of Covid-19 with a predominantly hybrid approach, colleagues need to feel comfortable to have personal conversations with peers and managers to safeguard the mental wellbeing of our workforces.”