With 60% of people around the world saying that they’ve experienced problems concentrating as a result of mental health conditions, there’s a real mental health crisis in the world’s workplaces. And the brewing industry is no exception. Stress, depression and anxiety have all been reported among founders and employees alike as the industry gets tougher with one founder even suggesting that some in the industry can find themselves drinking up to ten glasses of beer per day, the alcohol culture within organisations is also a problem.
The brewing industry already has enough productivity problems: some studies have even shown that breweries can spend nearly a tenth of their production budgets on energy alone without any sustainability programs in place, and there are countless other cash drains in place too. Any steps to boost brewery productivity, then, should be welcomed; indeed, there’s a lot that brewing companies can be doing to invest in their employees’ psychological health and getting the most out of them in the long term. From creating rooms for mindfulness to designing spaces with happy employees in mind, the power to craft a mental health-friendly workspace is in your hands.
The first step in creating a pleasant and mood-boosting working atmosphere, of course, has to be integrating this attitude into the basics of interior design. For your brewery’s support and admin staff, creating a light environment is best done by choosing to rent or buy a building which has plenty of windows. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, choosing lighter colors for the walls is important.
Breweries themselves often require certain conditions in order for effective brewing to take place, though, and the UV rays from natural light can affect the flavor of a brew. If there’s no way to prevent the brewing rooms from being somewhat dark, consider alternatives. Tweaking the rota so that brewers can always take a moment to go outside once an hour, for example, can make a world of difference.
Moving to the level of layout, employers can again make conscious decisions about how the brewery feels and looks. Dark and solitary working spaces mean that brain-boosting human interactions aren’t always present, and these layouts also mean there’s not as much mood-crucial natural light floating around. Instead, work spaces should be laid out in a way that boosts mental health, not stymie it.
Employees should always be able to see at least one or two other people, and so open plan spaces are crucial. Large equipment such as fermentation vessels are often necessary in breweries, and this isn’t always conducive to employee interaction. When designing layouts, then, think about whether you can place control panels closer together so that workers don’t need to spend large amounts of time on their own. Alcohol is often embedded into the culture in breweries, meanwhile, and some of the more modern beer-related workplaces have regular drinks events – which aren’t easy for those who have experienced substance issues. Ensuring there are soft drinks in the Friday night beer fridge, then, is important.
Many modern workplaces now have a dedicated “non-work” space. In smaller workspaces, it’s often called a “breakout area” or similar, and is located in the same room as the desks. In larger spaces or organizations with more resources ready to devote to redesigns, it may be possible to have a designated room, separate from the main area. A space like this gives employees reasons for brain clearing exercises and to be a bit more spiritual – even if it’s just for ten minutes or so at lunchtime. Whether your employees choose to use the space for mindfulness activities, meditation or even just some quiet reflection, it’s handy to have.
Creating the perfect layout isn’t simple, but it’s certainly possible to do. No matter what sort of brewing organization you run, it’s worth investing the time and energy in mood-boosting, person-friendly layouts and separate spaces for chilling out. When you have a happier and more upbeat workforce as a result, you’ll be glad you made the move.