Furniture Considerations to Welcome and Support Neurodiversity
September 23, 2021 | Lauren Gant, PhD, CPE, WELL AP on allsteeloffice.com
A version of this article was first published by Lauren Gant, PhD, CPE, WELL AP on allsteeloffice.com, which is a division of HNI, an ABI member. This article was brought to ABI's attention by StoreyKenworthy, another HNI member.
As students of and enthusiasts for workplaces, we learned many lessons from the trials and difficulties presented in 2020. In many ways, the places we work have become extensions of who we are and what we represent – we bring our thoughts, feelings, challenges (and sometimes furry and/or human dependents) with us when we ‘punch the clock.’ It is no longer an option to overlook the impact of space on the people who occupy it.
Considerations for health, wellness, and inclusivity are fundamental to creating spaces that are productive, creative, and welcoming for a diverse workforce. Considerations for neurodiversity are a paramount part of this conversation.
To oversimplify, neurodiversity is an appreciation and understanding that there are vast differences in the ways our brains process inputs. Discussions about neurodiversity often focus on considerations for cognitive disabilities but may also include considerations for more subtle differences in the way we respond to inputs from the world – inputs like color, sound, smell, and space.
Equitable, productive, and comfortable space design should be considered holistically and on multiple dimensions including formal policy, workplace culture, psychological safety, and larger space design. Here, considerations for furniture will be presented in the context of welcoming and supporting a neurodiverse workforce.
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