Going Beyond Average With Inclusive Design

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Summary:

This article highlights that workplaces are typically designed for “the average person” and that those sentiments excluded multiple groups of people. The article goes on to talk about subgroups of people such as autistic people, working mothers, and Jewish people. Also integrating cultural changes such as finding community in coworking, the need for rest during the work day, and creating feminine spaces. It also lists real examples of where companies are applying more inclusive policies. Some examples being:

  • German software company SAP has announced an intention to make 1% of its workforce neurodiverse by 2020 — a number representative of the approximate percentage of people with autism globally.
  • Trehaus, the brainchild of four working mothers, is the first in Singapore to offer childminding facilities within a coworking environment. In addition to hot desking and dedicated workstations for working parents, Trehaus offers children the chance to explore various activities in a play space. Kids aged 2-3 years can join Trehaus Playschool, which runs a range of learning activities in English and Mandarin.
  • In London, Pop & Rest (P&R) is a startup that provides private and peaceful spaces to recharge. While there, you can take a power nap, do breathing and meditation exercises, have a therapy session, work peacefully on a comfy mattress, or just relax.

Some other notable quotes, “The Autism ASPECTSSTM Design Index is the world’s first evidence-based set of autism-specific design guidelines. Among its suggestions for creating autism-friendly spaces are noise reduction, clearly defined zones, logical spatial sequencing and wayfinding, and customizable spaces for respite…Studies also show that a brief nap helps our brains think more clearly. Some offices have started incorporating places for rest and rejuvenation, but some people hesitate to use them, fearing perceptions of slacking. Recognizing the need, new urban enterprises offer experiences that make it as easy to go out for a nap as it is to go out for lunch.”

Analysis:

I considered this article relevant to my project in that it does not only talk about being inclusive, but gives actual examples of different ways that companies are executing these inclusive policies. Also, it gave me exposure to certain needs of marginalized communities, such as autistics spaces having noise reduction, customized respite, enhanced wayfinding, and definitive zones. It brings me back to the sentiment that if you help one group, you’re helping them all. The article also touches on how coworking spaces can promote community which was relevant to my project.

Source:

Going beyond average with inclusive design. Steelcase. (2020, February 25). Retrieved August 31, 2022, from https://www.steelcase.com/research/articles/topics/trends-360/going-beyond-average-inclusive-design/