Concevoir pour la neurodiversité sur le lieu de travail

Concevoir pour la neurodiversité sur le lieu de travail

augustus 5, 2020 0 Door admin

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A new report from global architecture firm HOK highlights a growing awareness regarding “neurodiversity” in the workforce and offers design strategies for creating workplaces that cater to and facilitate the spatial needs of neurodiverse individuals. 

According to the report, “‘Neurodiversity’ refers to the natural range of variation in human neurocognition. It’s an umbrella term for people who aren’t neurotypical, and includes such conditions as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia (a neurologically based physical disorder) and Tourette syndrome, among others. Approximately 15-20 percent of people are ‘neurodivergent.'”

The firm’s report argues that adapting workplaces to the the needs of neurodiverse communities not only helps individuals thrive in the workplace, but that “accommodating the different wiring of neurodiverse people can provide a huge competitive advantage” for businesses due to the fact that, according to the report, “Neurodiverse thinkers often possess exceptional talents when it comes to innovation, creative storytelling, empathy, design thinking, pattern recognition, coding and problem solving.” 

The report recommends that workplace designers employ a series of thoughtful considerations when designing offices to be more neurologically inclusive, including allowing for the use of noise cancelling headphones, reducing lighting or screen brightness, providing access to supportive software, and allowing breaks for activity or a change of scene. 

HOK offers additional spatial recommendations that include “creating spaces that are memorable and that use a rhythm of common elements to generate a reassuring sense of order,” avoiding the “confusing repetition of identical spaces or features,” creating visible landmarks and focal points within the workplace, adding vantages and clear lines of sight within the office to help users orient themselves, and designing “meaningful variations in lighting levels” as part of larger wayfinding strategies within the workplace, among other approaches.

The report also recommends designating certain technology-free zones to create spaces that minimize distractions and taking special considerations with regards to ambient noise, including offering workers “a range of choices in spatial character” that range from silent to bustling with regards to acoustics. The report explains, “while it takes about 20 minutes to settle into a state of flow, workplace interruptions occur, on average, every seven minutes.” 

“Where neurotypical employees may find ambient noise—or the lack of
it—counterproductive, employees who are especially sensitive or prone
to distraction, such as those with autism or ADHD, can find it downright
disabling. They may adapt by wearing headphones, seeking out their optimal environment for hyperfocus or using a sensory distraction they can control to mitigate the impact of others who they can’t,” the authors write.

These changes, according to the designers, can benefit many different types of workers and should be undertaken with this inclusive goal in mind. “Designers have an opportunity,” the report states, “to influence the physical and cultural adaptations required to make workplaces more inclusive. We need to ensure that the most valuable assets and currency of many business—its people—have the opportunity to be happy, healthy, engaged and empowered.


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