In the wake of the latest articles, dedicated to women’s empowerment in the professional world, we broaden our gaze to inclusion in all its forms. Inclusion that brings well-being and can have a lot to do with the design of spaces and access to technology.
Putting people at the centre: it is the ‘corporate’ strategy par excellence. We read almost everywhere about new corporate plans for DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), so much so that we feel the desire to go deeper. How many say this and how much do they actually do it? Lacking the means and possibilities to investigate so thoroughly, let us try to draw up a small check list dedicated to the object of analysis closest to our technological essence: workspace architecture.
A recent paper by Covivio helps us in this. In fact, the international real estate organisation questioned the possibility of promoting diversity and inclusion through a different office design. “From workplace to life place. Scenarios and guidelines for designing more inclusive workspaces’, this is the title of the paper drafted in collaboration with Total Tool and Politecnico di Milano, is based on the successful experience of some Milan-based companies.
Key points of the inclusive concept
The design criteria are declined in the furnishings, technologies and activities, with particular attention to physical, psychic and sensory disabilities, gender and culture (e.g. ethnicity and religious beliefs). It starts with the permeability of spaces: up-to-date services, advanced connectivity and access to green and manicured outdoor areas. Furthermore, it’s important to avoid strong lighting, noise (especially in open spaces) and bright colours, which could generate overstimulation and sensory overload. Furnishings should be ergonomic and comfortable, collaboration technologies efficient, up-to-date and usable for all employees. Above all, properly explained and ‘taught’, to avoid calls and disruptions between colleagues or, for example, the poor use of digital services for booking meeting rooms or other activities.
The service component is another key aspect for people’s well-being. From refreshment areas with different modes of consumption and an offer that is attentive to dietary restrictions, from spaces for breastfeeding to areas for spirituality or meditation. Also rewarded are companies that offer multi-purpose spaces in which to host workshops, laboratories, sports activities and cultural events. Each of these areas will need state-of-the-art AV, lighting and presentation and conference systems to accompany the different experiential moments of employees. In short, inclusive design is an innovative approach that aims to enable everyone to give their best in the workplace.