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What is inclusive office design?

What is inclusive office design?

What is inclusive office design?

Since the emergence from lockdown, the differentiation between the workspace and working from home is becoming increasingly blurred. Perhaps because many people have grown accustomed to having that extra freedom and liberty is why according to an international poll of 31,000 full-time employees for Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index report, 73% wanted to retain the option of working remotely after the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.      

One solution to this is to make your workspace more inclusive.

‘What does inclusive mean?’ you may ask.

According to Google, it means ‘including all the services or items normally expected or required.’ Essentially, this means that in an inclusive workspace, whatever age, race, physical ability, and gender, the same and equal opportunities are given.

In office design, there are many ways you can make your offices more inclusive and one of the main points is to consider those that may have disabilities.

There is absolutely no reason why someone, who perhaps uses a wheelchair, couldn’t work where they wanted to, because the space does not facilitate their needs adequately – yet this happens more than we wish to believe. Installing ramps and lift shafts can help accommodate their needs so that their working day can be easier, despite the personal challenges they may face. Also, consider design factors such as making sure your corridors are wide enough to facilitate a wheelchair and include some height-adjustable work areas.    

Whilst these adjustments would mainly cater to physical disabilities, did you know that, according to the World Bank, an estimated 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability, of which 80% of whom have a hidden condition?

By having a range of different work areas, such as private zones and collaboration spaces, you can help those suffering from an ‘invisible’ disability (which can include mental health issues), and be able to choose what zone suits them the best, so that you can optimise productivity. Including as many biophilic design elements such as allowing as much natural light as you can into the space, to help reduce stress levels, and incorporating good ventilation and natural landscape features will create a sense of harmony in the space.    

A variety of workspaces help those with disabilities, but it can also aid everyone in boosting productivity and collaboration, whilst growing in confidence. Other ideas we recommend are to avoid noise distraction where possible – try integrating acoustics in your design, and consider having a pet policy. Many of us got used to the friendly face around the home, so it can help combat loneliness in the workplace and has even been shown to boost collaboration in the workplace.

Providing areas of privacy is just as important as those collaboration areas, as it can help acknowledge all genders and identities. Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between, you should be able to find somewhere to work, in an inclusive space, that suits your needs.

Having an inclusive office space will help your staff thrive and become more productive, essentially making it a nicer place for them to work and encouraging them to work in-office.

Want to get in contact about your office fit-out? Contact us at projects@officeinsight.co.uk or 0161 246 2363.

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