How to create an office space that prioritises mental wellbeing

There’s much more to a mentally friendly work set up than pretty décor and new plush furnishings. An office space that’s truly inclusive for those living with mental health problems, experiencing poor mental health and that’s psychologically safe and inclusive for all, starts with policy and practice and may include environmental factors such as food and mealtimes and specifically designed office spaces for all types of workers.


We spoke to Rees Bramwell, Senior Nutritionist, Compass Group UK&I Business & Industry at Eurest and 14forty about how they are taking on the challenge of making their office space one that prioritises mental wellbeing.

Food for thought

“The pandemic has brought in many changes for offices and for many companies, hybrid working looks like it is here to stay, and this means permanent changes to the way the workplace operates. This included our workplace restaurant, which is now set to play a bigger part in promoting wellbeing. Since the pandemic many people are changing their priorities and that includes when they eat, what they want to eat and how they want to eat at work. At Eurest and 14forty, our belief is that the workplace restaurant can play a vital part in bringing people together, providing businesses with an opportunity redefine what can be achieved through what their people eat and drink on site. Nudging people into healthier food choices, for instance by providing tasty plant-based options and healthy sugar-free snacks is vital -and can have a positive impact on mental health.

Remember the importance of rehydration

Having easy access to water for rehydration is vital for mental health. People should aim to drink around two litres of fluid per day for optimum performance and health, with water making up at least half of that total. Drinking little and often is ideal to keep your team topped up and it’s important that they don’t wait until thirst kicks in. So, water stations should be easy to access and widely distributed.

This is an example of how the design of a workplace, and its workplace restaurant is important, too. With fewer people based permanently in the office there is an opportunity for some companies to use that spare space in a new way.

Redesigning office space for mental health

As part of our partnership with Mental Health UK we are working with clients to provide supportive and friendly environments for both their employees and our teams to relax as well as refuel.

This includes:

  • Dedicated wellbeing rooms which are reserved for individuals who need a quiet breather (an idea I personally witnessed and loved on my recent visit to the MHUK head office).
  • Seating areas which encourage social interaction at mealtimes which is important especially in the modern hybrid working model.
  • Introducing more informal collaborative spaces, perhaps where colleagues can chat over a coffee, often how the best business ideas and social bonds are formed.

Introducing regular breaks

We’re firm believers that regular breaks are essential whatever your job. They provide time to de-stress and relax, keep you alert and productive, and support good health and mental wellbeing. Creating comfortable and attractive spaces within a workplace can help to maximise the potential of break times, actively encouraging downtime and socialisation among employees. One tip is to repurpose empty desk areas and gear them towards wellbeing. So, if you don’t have a workplace restaurant already, this may be the right time to consider it. Our survey of nearly 14,000 European workers found that having a workplace restaurant is considered the third most important workplace benefit. You can find out more about implementing workplace catering here.”

We’d love to learn what you’re doing at work to prioritise mental health in your office space. Let us know or find out more about workplace mental health by emailing us at [email protected] today. 

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