Anxiety Arch February Theme

In February, our #AnxietyArch theme is Wellbeing at Work. Stress plays a huge factor in causing ill health. It is estimated that 45% of lost working days in the UK due to stress (source: Health and Safety Executive, Labour Force Survey). This is not restricted to the architectural professions alone but is a shocking indication of how stress can impact an employee’s performance at work. Promoting wellbeing at work can help to create a less stressful environment for employees and has proven effects of increased productivity. As a result, there’s no doubt that employers should aim to look after their staff’s wellbeing whilst in the workplace.

ABS President, Jane Duncan OBE says that mental health “has been a hidden and taboo subject, but affects all of us at some points in our lives; it is no longer someone else’s problem, it is ours.” It has an impact on employers, employees and work alike. Together, we need to tackle this problem head on and aim to support each other. A lot of time is spent at the workplace and for many architectural professionals, their work is their passion so, we felt that wellbeing at work is an important place to start our campaign.

At the Architects Benevolent Society, we believe in leading by example. We have implemented a few changes in our workplace over the past few years that we hope will promote wellbeing for our staff. Small changes include having fresh fruit delivered to the office every week, less formal clothing and the addition of plants in the office. However, we have also made some bigger changes that include flexible working hours and the opportunity to work remotely from home. These opportunities allow people to work around school runs, engineering works on their commuting line or other personal commitments. 

Robert Ball, CEO of Architects Benevolent Society comments: "Considering relatively simple adjustments to working arrangements such as those detailed above goes some way to addressing wellbeing at work, but in our experience these can only go so far. In implementing the changes we have, it has become clear that a more effective approach is to treat workplace wellbeing as a strategic priority rather than something that falls under a heading such as HR. We have some way to go but by placing workplace wellbeing in the forefront of our thinking we hope to set an example for others to follow."

We hope to open the discussion during the month, encouraging more practices and organisations to think about Wellbeing at Work and how it can be improved. Together, we will strive to create a less stressful world.

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