Image credit: Elsy Studios as published in Work Design Magazine
From Juliana Rini's January 26, 2024 article "Designing to Support Neurodiversity in a Post-Pandemic World"
We’ve all experienced an environment that makes it hard to work – either it’s too loud, too dark, too bright or just distracting for a variety of reasons. It’s difficult to be at our best when we’re uncomfortable. While for many, that state of discomfort feels temporary – something we have the power to fix, for some in the neurodivergent community, the way the typical office is designed creates a set of triggers that make it hard to ever want to come in – especially after several years of remote or hybrid work where they felt more productive.
Understanding what these triggers might be and how office design can be adjusted to better support all employees can be the key to a successful back-to-office or hybrid plan for employees. As a design firm that specializes in office environments, Elsy Studios has worked with a number of clients to incorporate strategies that reflect that latest knowledge in design for neurodivergence.
"Designing to support neurodiversity isn’t about a complete overhaul of the typical design process; it’s more about thoughtfully integrating features that cater to various perspectives and preferences without creating an undue spotlight on differences."
The goal is to create spaces where different ways of thinking and interacting with an environment are supported. These strategies can range from layout and circulation changes to FF&E decisions, but the most important thing employers can do to create places where every individual feels valued and supported is to first understand the need and the opportunity.