Discussion surrounding the future of the workplace is deepening, and one of the most persistent topics is the need for employers to support their employees through inclusion and diversity. An inclusive workplace values employees’ differences by enabling them to feel accepted and adjusting the workspace to ensure that they are comfortable and able to work.
Implementing inclusive workplace design and creating a diverse workforce is essential for companies to thrive in the modern world. Inclusive workplace design must improve employees’ overall well-being while accommodating physical limitations, different workstyles, and mental health. If you’re looking to improve your workplace design, these low-cost tips will help you create an inclusive work environment with the assistance of audiovisual integration specialists.
What Is Inclusive Workplace Design?
Inclusive workplace design employs design solutions that accommodate neurodiversity and differently-abled people. As a result, inclusive workplace design considers everyone’s unique needs to cultivate an environment that allows those with different abilities to work in a traditional office environment. Creating and implementing an inclusive working environment will enable your organization to attract and retain the best talent.
The Importance of Inclusive Workplace Design
The environment employers create plays an integral role in reducing and removing feelings of isolation in the workplace. According to a survey by the Harvard Business Review, 40% of people feel isolated at work and experience lower engagement at work as a result.
In contrast, a sense of belonging in the workplace correlates with a 56% increase in workplace performance and a 50% decrease in turnover risk. Inclusive workplace design ensures the work environment is improved to maximize productivity from all employees in the business. Your organization can leverage inclusive workplace design to drive innovation, increase profitability and enhance productivity.
3 Tips for Inclusive Workplace Design
An inclusive working environment will address employees’ mental well-being, neurodiversity, and physical limitations. It is vital that the solutions implemented are subtle and do not draw attention to specific groups of people. These simple workplace design concepts will enable your organization to create a more welcoming office for everyone.
1. Implement Designs for Mental Wellbeing
In essence, inclusive workplace design is about ensuring that your working environment is one in which your employees are able to produce their best work. An inclusive approach to mental health creates a better work environment for your employees.
The following solutions ensure a more inclusive workplace by prioritizing employee mental wellness:
- Biophilic elements. Studies from Exeter University concluded that workers are 15% more productive when their workplaces are outfitted with a few houseplants. As a result, incorporating biophilic elements within the office will ensure that employees maximize their productivity and take fewer sick days.
- Natural light. A recent study from Cornell shows that workers exposed to natural light experienced an 84% drop in headaches, blurred vision, and eyestrain. Improving the amount of natural light your office receives could help make their workspace a better place to work.
- Rejuvenation and recreation spaces. Another useful element to add to your workplace design is an area where staff can unwind. Although lounges and cafes may not make it to your initial design update, developing a place for employees to take a break from work helps with their long-term mental well-being.
Studies show that individuals in industrialized nations spend 33% of their waking time at work, which means their working conditions can help or hinder their mental health. These low-cost changes have a positive impact on your employees’ state of mind, leading to improved mental health and increased productivity.
2. Make Accommodations for Neurodiversity
The term “neurodiversity” refers to natural differences in behavioral traits and behavioral traits within the human population. Surveys show that about 1 in 7 people are considered neurodivergent, meaning their brain processes information differently than what is considered “typical.” Neurodivergence often refers to Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism, and Attention Deficit disorders.
Neurodivergent individuals bring creative solutions to the workplace, and these design tips can support them in the workplace:
- Private Spaces. Office spaces can be distracting for anyone, especially those who are neurodivergent. Private work booths and huddle rooms positioned away from high-traffic areas are ideal for focused work.
- Offer noise level options. Some neurodivergent people find small sounds distracting. It may be beneficial to combat disturbances by providing working environments with materials that absorb sound. However, some workspaces may be too quiet for neurodivergent people, so consider providing employees with various auditory settings.
- Use Soft Lighting and Color. Some neurodivergent individuals are susceptible to bright colors and lighting. Incorporating neutral colors and soft, warm lighting may be helpful throughout your building.
By accommodating neurodivergent people, your organization can pull from a wider talent pool and experience the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce.
3. Physical Inclusion Practices
Organizations should consider how their current workspace can hinder or enable access to individuals with physical disabilities. Recent surveys from the CDC show that up to 26% of individuals in the United States have some type of physical disability. By implementing an inclusive workplace design that is accessible to everyone, organizations can truly open their hiring pool to the most talented people, regardless of possible disabilities.
Implementing inclusive workplace design means that your organization’s building should be accessible to everyone, even those who are differently-abled. AV integrators will consider the following throughout the AV design process to make your building more differently-abled friendly:
- Assistive listening systems. An assistive listening system (ALS) improves the output of AV technology to ensure that individuals with hearing impairments can hear what is being said over audio equipment.
- Protruding objects. It is important to consider people who are visually impaired as well. Since protruding objects are a hazard to those with visual impairments, ensure that your AV systems do not protrude more than 4 inches from the wall.
- Height of work surfaces. People with physical disabilities, particularly those in wheelchairs, will require work surfaces 28 inches to 24 inches above the floor to access their work areas comfortably.
These specifications align with those in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By following these guidelines, AV integrators can ensure inclusive workplace design that accommodates differently-abled individuals.
Implement Inclusive Workplace Design with Applied Global
If your organization is seeking assistance from AV specialists, Applied Global Technologies (AGT) offers various AV solutions to improve workplace productivity. Our team has the tools and expertise to help your business make the most of its shared office space.
To learn more about our AV solutions, contact us today. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific needs and recommend the right solution for your business and budget.