inclusive workplace design podcast

Inclusive design takes new form in the future office

In recent years, inclusivity has shifted and expanded in the workplace, catalysed by the increase in remote work over the last year. But how will equity, diversity & inclusion take new form in the future office?

One thing is certain—organisations must view an inclusive workspace as a vital part of the business in order for their initiatives to create real impact and value.

What is equity, diversity, & inclusion (EDI)?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)—also known as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)—refers to policies and initiatives in workplaces and other organisations that are designed to build a more equitable environment.

Many businesses have made excellent strides toward hiring a more diverse workforce. But diversity is only one aspect to consider, just as incorporating EDI into recruitment efforts is only a first step.

The concept of inclusion challenges organisations to consider how people feel when they actually come to work. What is the culture? Do employees enjoy a sense of belonging? Do they feel valued? Finally, equity is about the opportunities businesses give all of their employees to grow and advance.

In this episode of Place of work, Frances Gain and Grant Christofely are joined by special guest Jennica Palecek from Colliers International to discuss why it’s crucial to incorporate diverse perspectives into the workplace.

Why is inclusive design important?

At M Moser, we’re committed to creating universally accessible, inclusive, people-centric work environments. Here’s why inclusive design is critical to the health and growth of an organisation:

  • Innovation and creativity. Studies show that innovation and creativity in the workplace significantly increase when companies have EDI built into their hiring practices, culture, operations, and the workspace itself.
  • Competitive advantage. Generally, bringing people into an organisation who can contribute different ideas and opinions provides a competitive advantage. But it’s essential to ensure that diverse employees feel like they’re part of the bigger whole.
  • Socially responsible investing. Younger generations of people are making more conscious decisions about investing. People want to contribute their spare change to an organisation that reflects their values.
  • Talent retention. Retention is the new growth. Centring EDI helps companies retain employees so that they can continue to develop their talent inside the business, helping the company grow in turn.

Incorporating inclusive design in the workplace

Many modern organisations are making a conscious effort to support neurodiversity in the workplace. They acknowledge the link between environment and output that exists for neurodiverse people – when these individuals inhabit a workplace that best suits their needs, they can achieve their full potential.

That same logic applies to every group of people. Regardless of who you are, your environment impacts you in a specific way. So, how can organisations begin creating environments that respond to all levels of diversity?

Here are three initial steps to take:

  1. Understand your people. Make an effort to understand your current workforce and the people you want to hire. What are their backgrounds? How are they diverse? What’s important to them? This type of research can be done easily with a human resources expert, but engaging in informal conversations can also yield compelling takeaways.
  2. Examine your space. Once you better understand the people you need to support within your environment, you can really start examining your space through that lens. Begin with a series of questions to help identify what changes are needed:
    – Is the space arranged to promote hierarchy or another power dynamic?
    – Does the space limit choice? Can people leave their primary workspace and go somewhere else?
    – Is the space comfortable, both physically and psychologically?
  3. Experiment and iterate. Redesigning an entire workspace requires a significant investment of time and money. It’s hard to take that leap of faith until you know how your employees will respond to certain environments. To overcome this challenge, many companies are redesigning small portions of their space for a three-month pilot. Overall, this brilliant solution allows them to experiment and gain real-world takeaways before implementing a permanent change.

If you’d like to discuss inclusive design in your workplace, M Moser’s workplace strategy team is here to support you. Contact us today to begin the conversation.

Frances Gain

Senior Associate, Workplace Strategy and Transformation

Grant Christofely

Associate Director, Workplace Strategy

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