Those who work from the comfort of their own home, avert your eyes because what we’re going to be thrusting under the limelight in this article is the concept of an inclusive shared workspace.
The notion of ‘Inclusivity and Diversity’ has been around for yonks but what many businesses and commercial designers are starting to notice is a more tangible manifestation of company practices.
Equal opportunities are all well and good in terms of employment, talent acquisition and keeping the HR department calm day-to-day but is your workspace itself really that inclusive?
Put simply: Physical changes to the design and facilities of an office or co-working space which makes it more accessible to a wider variety of people.
This encompasses everything from ethnicity, gender and sexuality to physical ability, mental health and a whole plethora of lifestyle variables in between.
This has been extensively covered with policies, politically correct practices and positive changes in business cultures but we – amongst many others – feel office interior design now needs bringing up to speed as well.
Mindfulness and meditation
Incorporating space for things like extracurricular gym classes has been on everybody’s radars for a while now. What’s becoming more and more prolific of late though is creating space for things like yoga and meditation.
Encouraging these types of relaxation practices during downtime will make for a calmer, more relaxed workforce with a stronger sense of workplace wellbeing.
Providing surfaces of various heights in places like kitchens and co-working spaces is a simple but super effective way of accommodating wheelchair users and staff of short stature.
Height-adjustable desks might require a little more cash investment than standard office furniture but will also make utilising the space far more accessible to a wider audience.
A multi-purpose private space
With so many diversities, personalities and lifestyle choices in the modern world, it’s virtually impossible to create one universal working environment which caters for every eventuality.
An effective way around this is to create a designated private space which can be used for a multitude of inclusive activities such as:
- Meditation and yoga
- Breastfeeding or expressing for new mums
- Prayer or religious activity
Careful consideration of colour
According to scientific studies, 10% of the world’s population is considered to be neuro-diverse. This includes mental health problems and cognitive issues such as dyslexia and bipolar.
Colour can have a dramatic impact on these types of health conditions so we recommend doing your research and sticking to hues which sooth things like anxiety and autism.
All of the elements above and indeed, creating an inclusive workplace in general, are an effective way to help small business owners improve the attraction and retention of superstar staff.
Now is the time for less talking about inclusivity and more doing, people!
Now we’ve shared our thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think in the comments below or by joining the conversation over on Twitter or Facebook.