How are companies designing spaces that promote inclusivity & equality

Author Lisa Stern Read bio
Tags: equality inclusivity office space
Date: October 28, 2020

Workplace inclusivity helps employees of all backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions to feel safe and be successful in a modern work environment. Not only is it very beneficial for the employees, but it also brings better results and allows companies to attract and retain talent.

Why are some workplaces more inclusive than others?

Some companies simply do not invest their time and effort into promoting and creating workplace equality and inclusivity. It’s as simple as that. BUT – the good news is that companies across the world are realizing how important it actually is and is colossally applying it in their work environments. 

Many HR believe that true inclusion starts from the top, meaning diversity and inclusion in the workplace must be embedded deep within a company’s roots or written in its core values.

Before we start explaining how to promote workplace inclusivity and equality, let’s first explain what it actually is. 

What organizational diversity means is that employees come from various backgrounds, and have different characteristics, viewpoints, and skills. Effective workplace inclusion means you understand that every individual is different, and you recognize their individual characteristics and praise them. These differences are often along with the size of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, race, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political views, or any other ideologies they may have.

Other professionals think that workplace inclusion is often developed over time with different strategies like diversity workshops with a goal to boost awareness. So what makes up a genuinely inclusive environment? And how can companies learn from others who are thriving in diversity and inclusivity? Let’s find out.

Put people in the first place

Every single one of your employees has different needs, some of which will not always be apparent. When designing office space, health, safety and well-being should be put in focus, so that the end result is a workplace that is accessible for everyone. For some companies, it may mean providing wheelchair access, for others it may be supporting other disabilities. 

Adopting universal office design principles and rules while providing plenty of options can support work via environmental control and freedom of choice. This way you enable everyone to feel included and to give their best.

Two women sitting in a meeting

Offices should work for all

More and more companies are choosing to design their office in such a way that suits different working styles, and by doing that they are enabling their employees to work in optimal conditions and do their best.

Shopify is a great example of a company that takes into consideration that some employees are introverts, while others are extroverted. They have coworking spaces for extroverts and quiet rooms for those who prefer to work in silence and not be surrounded by people.

Deloitte offers another amazing office feature to its employees – individual temperature and light control, which makes workspace so much more comfortable.

Having creative and recreational spaces also has many benefits. Meditation space, indoor sports or simply spaces for socializing tend to increase productivity levels among employees.

For a better tomorrow

We have all learned by now that workplace wellbeing has a direct impact on productivity, and companies are investing in policies that empower employees to work in a way that suits them best, more than ever.

Agile working reduces the number of desks that are needed and allows more space to be turned into inclusive areas. 

As companies across the world continue to put employee’s well-being in the first place, future work environments will adapt to individual needs and choices more, rather than trying to make use of traditional spaces.