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Inclusion in the workplace

Inclusion in the workplace
14th February 2020

Inclusion in the workplace

The physical environment of an office has a huge impact on the wellbeing of those working in it. The design of an office space is also a company’s primary way of communicating its brand values and culture. An organisation that wants to position itself as forward-thinking and inclusive should start by reflecting this in their workspace design.

Small features can make a big difference. Designing for inclusion from the start helps avoid the need for inconvenient — and often costly — retroactive action.

Top of the priorities list when designing an inclusive workspace is accessibility — ensuring that the office is manageable and comfortable for people of all types of physical ability.

A few simple features included during the fit-out process can go a long way to creating a working environment that is welcoming to all employees from the beginning.

For example:

  • Wide corridors and doorways
  • Multi-height surfaces in communal areas such as kitchens and toilets
  • Height adjustable ergonomic furniture that supports a variety of postures
  • Storage within reach of all employees
  • Door handles that can be operated with one hand and a ‘closed fist’
  • Ramps and lifts instead of — or in addition to — stairs • Different colours for horizontal and vertical surfaces, including changes in elevation
  • Adjustable lighting operated by touch panel rather than toggle switches or small knobs

Make sure to also consider neurodiversity and mental health.

The word ‘disability’ is typically associated with physical impairment, but the reality is that the spectrum of ability extends far beyond the physical — and even visible. In fact, research has indicated that 1 in 10 full-time office workers are considered to be neurodiverse. This means they come under the spectrum of things like dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.

Anxiety and other mental health problems should also be considered when designing an inclusive workspace. For example:

  • Facilitate agile working for improved job satisfaction and morale
  • Acoustic solutions to minimise noise distraction or any distress caused by noise sensitivity
  • Lots of natural light and biophilic elements to reduce stress levels
  • A private wellbeing space or area for taking some time out

Designing for inclusion does not necessarily require costly upgrades or loss of aesthetics. In fact, modern offices are now being designed and built with inclusion in mind. Gone are the days of the very clinical aesthetic traditionally associated with accessibility in the workplace; today, it is easy to include office design features that promote accessibility without compromising freedom of style, and all at a reasonable cost.

This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.

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