Creating the right physical work environment for people with different needs can be challenging, but digital communications firm Dynamo proves that sometimes all it takes is simple touches and a culture of care.
When it comes to considering how the physical space can affect wellness, Emma Cross, operations director at Dynamo, says: “We think carefully about where people sit, particularly when new people are starting. Some people have specific needs; for example, we have someone who has to sit facing a particular way, due to their hearing.”
In addition to being able to personalise their work station however they like, when a new member joins they are given a cash allowance to ‘adopt a plant’. This helps create a visually pleasing environment, but also allows each employee the opportunity to benefit from the mindfulness, health and wellbeing perks of being near to and caring for plants.
“It’s a small but fun way of personalising your desk and helps to create a nice environment,” says Cross. “There are benefits of having plants on your desk and around the office, and we all enjoy tending to each other’s plants if on holiday. I have a peace lily, which is good for cleansing the air.”
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, which happens in May in the UK and October in the US, Dynamo organises activities that support mindfulness, such as providing employees with adult colouring books.
The organisation also has a flexible working policy in place; among the various reasons for this is the fact that it allows team members who might be suffering from mental ill health, such as depression or anxiety, the opportunity to work from home and still be productive, even on challenging days.
Rather than feeling like they need to escape the workspace to tend to their mental wellbeing, however, Cross notes that one member of staff, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is thriving in the office environment in a way that they may not have been able to in previous jobs.
Staff feedback is positive, adds Cross: “Sickness absence rates are low, while a recent employee survey staff ranked us high for company culture and low stress levels.”