How evidence-based design can support frontline workers
Workplace stress is a reality for many people. For frontline professionals like corrections, homeless support staff, addiction and mental healthcare providers, this has long been a widespread serious issue. With the far-reaching effects of COVID have come even more unprecedented demands on their everyday long exhausting shift. What results is not your everyday stress. It's STS (Secondary Traumatic Stress), burnout, compassion fatigue, PTSD and more.
Workplace culture in these professions doesn't always encourage meaningful self-care practices and all the tools aren't readily available. Support requires a multi-pronged approach. One important tool is a space of respite. A place to retreat to decompress, find comfort and recharge emotional batteries.
Does your employer provide such a place? Here is an important and meaningful opportunity to provide support and demonstrate they value employee wellbeing. The "staff room" is historically either absent or not given importance nor priority. But let's think about this... where do they go to get away from the intensity of their daily load?
The answer is they sit in hallways, find a closet, and if they're lucky they have a so-called "staff lounge" of thrown together with makeshift stuff to create a place to grab a quick nap, tune out the noise, get away from the patients or clients who shouldn't see their pain and humanity.
Is this how we support our frontline heroes?
Science has healthcare design paying much attention to behavioural design for patients with improved outcomes. We now know the powerful benefits of an intentionally designed space to support mental wellbeing. This is just one way we can provide support to those that have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping the rest of us.
What does your staff room look and feel like? I'm here to help.