Creating a Recharge Space for Your Advocates: An Investment for Workplace Well-being
Maegan Bradshaw, October 17, 2023
In the advocacy field's fast-paced work environment, where deadlines, meetings, and constant communication are the norm, ensuring the well-being of your staff is a top priority. One effective way to support your workforce is by providing a dedicated recharge space. These rooms provide a space within the office for employees to recharge their physical and mental energy and well-being. This oasis can offer immense benefits not only for your team's mental and physical health but also for overall productivity and job satisfaction. In this article, we'll explore why leadership should create a recharge space for their team and how it can make a substantial difference in your workplace culture.
(Additionally, in a follow-up blog, we'll discuss how, as an advocate, you can advocate for yourself in asking for a safe/recharge space.)
The Modern Work Challenge:
Burnout and Stress
Burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress have become all too common in the modern violence prevention workplace. The demands of advocacy, coupled with the constant connectivity to work-related tasks, can lead to a decline in employee well-being. This, in turn, affects their performance, creativity, and overall satisfaction with their roles. A recharge space offers a solution to counteract these adverse effects.
The Benefits of a Recharge Space:
1. Mental Rejuvenation: A dedicated space where employees can step away from their workstations and find solace allows for mental rejuvenation. Even a short break in a peaceful environment can boost focus, clarity, and cognitive function.
2. Stress Reduction: A well-designed recharge space can include elements that promote relaxation, such as comfortable seating, soft lighting, and soothing decor. These elements can help employees unwind and reduce stress during busy workdays.
3. Physical Health Improvement: Providing a space for quick stretches, deep breathing exercises, or even short naps can positively impact physical health. Addressing physical strain can prevent long-term health issues and enhance overall well-being.
4. Promoting Social Interaction: A well-planned recharge space can also foster social interactions among employees. Casual conversations and a sense of community can strengthen team bonds and contribute to a positive work atmosphere.
5. Enhanced Productivity: Providing your staff with a recharge space to reduce stress and support mental/physical well-being helps recharge their energy and focus. A quick mindful break can make your advocates feel refreshed enough to push through when having a tough work day.
6. Employee Retention: Creating a safe space that supports your team's mental and physical well-being can be a step toward creating a more human-centered work environment. Acknowledging that advocacy, while fulfilling, is exceptionally challenging and showing appreciation by giving them a space just for them demonstrates a commitment to their satisfaction and can contribute to lower turnover rates.
7. Positive Public Image: A thoughtfully designed recharge space can contribute to a positive public image. Showcasing a commitment to advocate welfare can lead to seasoned and experienced applicants and provide a standard of care for other organizations.
What Should Your Recharge Design Incorporate?
A well-designed recharge space is a sanctuary within the workplace, providing employees with a peaceful and revitalizing environment where they can take a break from their tasks, relax, and recharge their energy. Here are some elements to consider when creating a recharge space for employees:
1. Comfortable Seating: Provide comfortable seating options such as cozy armchairs, cushioned benches, and even bean bags. Include plush cushions, throw blankets, and other soft furnishings that make the space inviting and comfortable. Comfort is essential for relaxation and unwinding.
2. Natural Light and Views: If possible, choose a space with ample natural light and views of nature. Natural light positively impacts mood, and views of nature can help reduce stress.
3. Privacy and Acoustic Comfort: Ensure the space offers a degree of privacy to allow employees to unwind without distractions. Additionally, consider soundproofing the area or providing white noise machines to minimize external noises.
4. Relaxation Tools: Opt for soothing décor, like light and airy colors, calming artwork, and nature-inspired elements. Also, consider providing relaxation aids like stress balls, adult coloring materials, puzzles, and other tactile activities.
5. Mindfulness Resources: Offer resources like guided meditation apps, mindfulness books, or relaxing music for employees to engage with during their break.
6. Aromatherapy: Using subtle and calming scents can enhance the ambiance. Consider using essential oil diffusers or scented candles, if permitted, in your workplace.
7. Technology-Free Zone: Encourage employees to take a proper break by making the space a technology-free zone. This can help them disconnect from digital devices and immerse themselves in relaxation.
8. Hydration Station: Include a water station or herbal tea options to encourage hydration, contributing to your advocate's overall well-being.
9. Flexibility: Design the space with flexibility in mind. Employees have different preferences for relaxation, so provide a mix of seating options and activities.
10. Regular Maintenance: Ensure the space is well-maintained, clean, and inviting. Regularly check for any repairs or adjustments needed. Keep this space free of flyers, policy manuals, meeting agenda, etc. This space should be as close to “away from work” as possible.
A Necessity, Not a Luxury
Creating a recharge space for your staff is not merely a luxury; it's an investment in your organization's most valuable asset—its people. By providing a dedicated area for relaxation, reflection, and rejuvenation, you're demonstrating that their well-being matters. The benefits, from increased productivity to reduced stress, are bound to positively impact both individuals and the overall workplace environment. Whether you're a leader looking to enhance your workplace or an employee advocating for positive change, a recharge space is a step toward a healthier, happier, more engaged, and human-centered workplace.