Creating spaces for everybody: The key to designing with neurodiversity in mind

Tash Hewlett, Senior Project Designer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Design, Wellbeing
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Full article from Work Design Magazine

Designing office spaces that cater to everyone is complex. Senior Project Designer Tash Hewlett explores the limitless benefits for both employees and businesses when workplaces put people first.

To design truly people-centred workspaces, you have to maintain a delicate balance of varying priorities, tastes and needs. When it’s done right, human-centric workplaces stimulate productivity and support wellbeing, and with up to 15% of people thought to be neurodiverse, striking that balance includes prioritizing the individual requirements of neurodivergent employees.

Workplaces are more accessible than ever but creating a space where everyone can thrive requires a more holistic approach, including subtle elements of design. This should be far from being an extra consideration, the business case for inclusive design is pivotal – these spaces not only attract the best talent in the industry, but they offer a sense of belonging for all employees and help get the best from them.

Quiet semi-private office space with soft seating and natural light
Quiet working area in a commercial office space with soft, colourful seating and blue wall
Booth seating area with warm colours and portable laptop table stands

The power to choose

When given the correct working environment, neurodiverse employees are often extremely high performing individuals. They will most likely have a comprehensive understanding of their own ways of working, so it’s important to gain their input when designing an office space, this could be done by conducting workshops with employees or surveys to collate feedback.

By creating flexible workspaces, employers can cater to a diversity of needs and show people that they trust them to tailor their working environment according to what they need. These provisions can be small, like specifying dimmable lights in meeting rooms and quiet spaces. It’s important to remember that people have become accustomed to the power to choose while working from home, and they shouldn’t have to sacrifice it as they return to the office even more regularly.

Read the full article here.

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