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What SHOULD an 'Inclusive' Workspace Really Look Like?

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

I get asked this question a lot.

(It’s also a bloody good question)

I truly believe in my heart that we all want to do better. I do believe that we want to do more for our people and create better places for our employees to flourish in.

Even if some businesses don’t realise it yet.

That’s why you’re here, reading this article right? (Unless you’re one of the grumpy trolls I’ve had on my tail recently and simply having a nosey😉)

Maybe you just don’t know how to do this yet??

Or feel can’t justify the investment or maybe you’ve already tried and it didn’t pay off.

The truth is (for me) there is no hard or fast rule you ‘should,' 'shouldn't' or ‘must’ follow when creating an #inclusiveworkplace.

In my experience the best results pay off when as a business, you carefully consider what exactly you feel is important for your specific business, your goals and most importantly what your #employees need to be the best possible version of themselves when they come to work.

(I also don’t believe in telling people (or businesses) what they should or shouldn’t do.)

So, I’ve written this article for those that want to know more about what an inclusive workspace CAN look like.

A key differentiator

One of the major differentiating factors in how in we create happier, healthier and more #productiveenvironments (vs what you’re probably used to) is we carefully listen to what it is you're trying to achieve, listen to your employees and understand their needs and THEN create a workspace that benefit the planet AND the people.

By creating ‘healthier’ workspaces you are naturally putting in place measures and incorporating resources and materials that will naturally enhance the wellbeing and physical and mental health of your employees – a key factor that is often overlooked.

Which in my experience of working in and creating hundreds of different working environments is under-estimated,

This is why I created this consultancy and chose to partner with the expert associates that I have.

Each one of us is aligned with own primary purpose and we all have the same goal.

Creating spaces that promote physical and mental health as well as doing our bit for the planet.

(So that’s enough of that, let’s get back to it...)

Firstly I want to quash some common misconceptions around inclusive or #biophilicdesign

Common Misconceptions

Some of the things people have said when hearing the words 'inclusive design' or 'biophilic design' - do any of these relate?

"Isn’t it just making sure the office ‘looks nice?"

"How is it any different to 'normal' workplace design?"

"Isn’t it just sticking a load of plants in?"

"Sound’s expensive to me…"

"Isn’t it just a ‘nice to have?"

Sound familiar?

Well now I'm going to hopefully answer these questions below...

Creating an #inclusiveworkplace

For us, an inclusive workspace is durable, yet capable of change and growth.

A space that provides diversity of choice and styles of working that promotes #connection, community and focus supporting psychological and physiological #wellbeing and #productivity.

Three key factors to consider when creating your inclusive workspace...

Firstly, ensuring your workplace provides a #diversity of spaces and choice appealing to a variety of audiences - this is going to provide opportunity for empowerment, not to mention show you what your employees want and need when they come back to the workplace.

(See my other blog on 'hackspaces' to learn more about this)

Providing accessible and the appropriate tools and tech. You want to ensure you're employees are able to easily carry out their tasks to the best of their abilities when they come to the workplace. Times have changed, working styles have changed.

How your employees prefer to work, has changed.

But has your workplace adapted to better facilitate these changes???

Providing the right environment to better facilitate varied styles of working that will better facilitate and support the specific activities being carried out in those particular areas.

For example; inspiring spaces that promote flexibility, intrigue and better support creativity style working, focused and dedicated spaces that better support those with neurodiversity and spaces that support solo quiet retreat style working are some examples to consider.

Providing the right environments for our employees is absolutely key to having a more productive and inclusive working environment.

Our market leading biophilic design and architecture team carefully consider and introduce the key concepts of biophilic design into each deign that we create.

Why #biopilicdesign?

As humans, we are genetically programmed & attracted to nature but we don’t always consider this when it comes to improving or adapting our working environments.

#Biophilic design draws from our innate attraction to nature and natural processes to improve the many spaces we inhabit, but the truth is, many people aren’t aware of what '#biophilia' is, the fundamental impact it can have on their #employee'shealth and wellbeing, productivity or #performance and there is often there is a misconception that it’s 'more expensive' & therefore more of a nice to have.

So many businesses automatically discount it because they feel it is out of reach or perhaps their budget.

Cost and Impact

The truth is, it also doesn’t need to be super expensive.

The difference is that by investing in a space that is carefully designed by experts that specialise in #biophilia, you're not only creating spaces that promote happier and healthier employees but you're also creating sustainable and more cost effective workspaces.

Rather than designing a workspace that just 'looks nice' and generates very little - (if any) return on your investment instead, invest the SAME into developing a workspace that will deliver you results - longer term.

This way your your ensuring your new workspace is being designed for sustainability and efficiency.

Just as an example of the benefits for your business would be ....

Your workspace will be exposed to more natural light & air flow. Effective biophilic lighting will allow you to turn off artificial lighting, reducing energy costs of up to an average of 50-80%. (No to mention your workspace would be contributing to a reduction in your carbon footprint, & contributing to net zero)

No brainer, right?

I recently posted in one of my videos about a study that was carried out in the US.

A contact centre introduced biophilic design to half of their working environments. It'll be no surprise that the ones that had exposure were handling calls 6-7% faster than those that weren't. The workspace was then fully modified & the result saw the annual productivity savings averaged nearly 3 times as much, in just THREE months.

Something to remember…

"Every £1 spent by employees on mental health interventions can expect £5 back due to greater productivity, reduced sickness absence & better engagement". (Deloitte)

Other examples of what results you can expect to see from having an inclusive workplace are;

  • An improvement to employee wellbeing by 15%

  • Increase of workplace productivity by 17%,

  • Improved sense of community

  • Overall reduction in depression, stress and anxiety

  • Improvement to learning in education spaces

  • A reduction to neurodiversity symptoms (such as ADHD for example)

  • Improving cognitive memory and brain function

  • Improved levels of concentration

This scientifically proven way of designing spaces has shown to improve recovery & sickness in healthcare environments as well as increase learning in educational spaces AND hospitality customers are willing to pay 23% MORE for a biophilic view.

By introducing the key principles of biophilic design you are not only are designing your workspaces to create a happier, heathier and more productive working environments for your employees but you’re also be increasing biodiversity and leading to positive ecological behaviour.

The list goes on… but you get the drift!

So, if you want to know more or understand more about how we can help to transform a new workspace or adapt your existing one so that you can start to reap just some of the results I detailed above see below...👇

What's Next?

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#inclusivity #biophilicdesign #employeeengagement #futureworkplace #team #work #growthmindset #inclusiveworkspaces #workplace #inclusivedesign #inclusivitymatters #inclusion #interior design #biophilia #biophilic #sustainabledesign

We can do this, together.

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