Many business owners today are rightfully concerned with diversity in their hiring processes and workplaces, but it’s important to note that in today’s modern age, “diversity” is a broad category. One of its sub-categories is a theme known as “neurodiversity,” one that many business owners are beginning to take larger and larger note of in recent years.
At New Life Office, we stock a variety of office furniture options to help businesses achieve any theme or setting in their workplace, from office cubicles to office desks, chairs and numerous other choices. Let’s go over what neurodiversity is, plus some tips on how to achieve a neurodiverse workplace.
Per the National Symposium on Neurodiversity, the term neurodiversity is defined as “a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation; these differences can include those labeled with dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyscalculia, autism spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome, and others.”
Essentially, neurodiversity is a form of acceptance and tolerance for those with a variety of specific circumstances based on simple differences we can’t control. Those with basic variations that may cause them to have different needs or behave differently than others deserve the same kind of daily comfort and respect as anyone else, and this theme is meant to reflect that in several areas of life.
Our subsequent sections will dig into a few themes on how to design an office space with neurodiversity in mind.
Environments and Access
Broadly speaking, those who fall under the category of neurodiversity do so within one of two bins: Those who are intellectually challenged and those who are intellectually advanced. As an office manager or designer, how do you focus on both ends of this spectrum without leaving anyone out?
The answer comes in allowing universal access and understanding of design elements wherever possible. Create several variations of work areas, plus bring in a few different kinds of visuals or acoustics that help various individuals feel comfortable depending on their needs. If you have one or two employees with specific such needs, speak to them about what you can do to help them meet these.
Several groups of people who fall under neurodiverse categories, such as those with autism, ADHD or dyslexia, may struggle with loud or abrupt noises that are sometimes present in an office. For this reason, it’s important to consider acoustic paneling and other design elements that can limit noise factors in certain areas. Some offices utilize seating arrangements that shield certain employees or areas from significant noise, while others consider high-backed seats and other noise-reduction solutions.
Any neurodiverse individuals in the office may have particular physical needs or desires. For some, an adjustable chair with certain properties may be extremely helpful. Others may benefit from an ergonomic standing desk for concentration. Again, this comes down to a willingness to discuss this with employees and make important changes based on need.For more on designing an office with neurodiversity in mind, or to learn about any of our office furniture products, speak to the staff at New Life Office today.