As Generation Z enters the workplace and Millennials move into senior management positions, expectations around inclusivity and diversity are changing. Companies who want to compete in today’s increasingly dynamic marketplace need to focus on building an inclusive work environment and diverse culture and workforce.
Over the past twenty years, there has been a shift in both legal policy and workplace culture to encourage the recruitment of sectors of the population that were previously overlooked, or physically excluded.
As well as addressing the company culture, the role of design in promoting and supporting inclusion in the workplace is key. Whereas once, the inclusive office design was seen as removing some of the more obvious impediments to full inclusion, such as accessibility issues, it now takes a more holistic approach towards treating each employee as an individual.
The entire workspace design can be created to be inclusive, creating an environment that supports the often different needs of the people who work within it.
What Does an Inclusive Office Design Look Like?
Open-plan offices rarely accommodate the needs of every employee, prompting a sense of powerlessness and lack of control in some employees which can be counterproductive to engagement. As a result, agile offices are becoming increasingly commonplace. These pull-down hierarchical barriers, and have a no dedicated desk policy, encouraging collaboration and innovation.
In Deloitte’s offices in Amsterdam, office design makes use of apps that organises workstation allocation based on an employee’s schedule. This system takes into account the preferences of the individual, ensuring that those who prefer a consistent place to work with familiar faces are allocated a regular space.
Inclusive office design looks to ensure that everyone who works in a workspace can use it fully and that it supports their working preferences. Everyone is placed at the centre, ensuring that they are fully engaged with their work and don’t feel like a small cog in a large machine. Agile solutions can also support hybrid working patterns, where people move between remote and in-office working depending on their requirements and where they are in their careers.
Small clusters of office desks, each accommodating two to four people can enable team members to work together without distraction. Those who need a quieter working environment can make use of acoustic pods. Areas of the office may be busier and noisier, with more movement and informal interaction, others will be quieter. Crucially, everyone should be able to access every part of the office and the building regardless of any mobility or other challenges they might face.
What Are the Advantages of Inclusive Workspaces?
Agile, inclusive workspace design maintains the scope for informal communication and encourages organic interaction while enhancing employee engagement. This creates a working environment that people like to access, and which, in turn, can lead to much greater office productivity.
They also support evolving working practices, breaking out of some of the old paradigms that have been shown to hold back how companies operate.
Workspaces and the companies they are part of becoming friendlier and more creative spaces.
Get in Touch With Flow Office Design
To find out more about inclusive work environments and office design and to discuss how you can implement these ideas into your space, speak to the expert team at Flow Office design today.