With a shared commitment to workplace wellness and holistic health, Nook and INDEAL Cares are working together, over the next 12 months, toward a shared vision of supporting healthy and thriving workplaces. The Healthy Spaces initiative, available here will offer tips and resources related to creating and sustaining a healthy work environment.
This year-long partnership will focus on understanding the needs of people working in the industry, raising awareness of the need for new and diverse healthy spaces in the workplace, and creating tools and resources that will empower leaders to best support their teams. We know that organizations that are not thinking inclusively will quickly find themselves missing out.
Check out These Tips for a More Inclusive Workspace, Courtesy of Nook
Very few businesses can afford an expensive total re-fit, so the challenge is to work with the space available and minimize costs to ensure your company’s physical workspace is meeting the needs of everyone. Read on for a list of ways you can create a healthy workspace:
Color choices can have a powerful effect on mood and performance and can affect hypersensitive (pastels are better) and hyposensitive (bright and bold please) people differently – a color preference for one individual might be challenging for another. A good way to overcome this is to keep the base pallet pastel and calming and to use splashes of accent color in limited areas where they can be useful as landmarks to make a space easier to navigate.
Natural light from windows or skylights can be very beneficial. Ensure window space is clear and clean and available. A Cornell University study found that eyestrain and headaches in employees are greatly reduced when they have the right amount of natural light in the office. When the wellness of employees is given importance, they become more productive. Ensure that the natural light levels can be controlled throughout the day with functioning blinds.
When it comes to physical space, get flexible. Having the option to move furniture around easily to create different zones of activity means that the office works around people rather than employees having to shoehorn into fixed work zones which may be entirely unsuitable. And make it clear that change and adaptation are encouraged. Decide how best to implement that. A mix of flexible seating options is key – from sit-stand desks to quiet pods and chairs that rock or vibrate – all allow the kind of choices that enhance inclusivity. Make sure there are options where people can work with their backs to a wall or are enclosed on 5 sides. These promote a feeling of safety and make the big open intimidating workspace feel smaller and more intimate.
Noise is recognized as the number one disturbance factor – particularly for neurodivergent individuals. The acoustics of an office play a key role in staff well-being and productivity. The quiet and calm of acoustic pods can be a boost to productivity or an opportunity to simply unwind and settle the brain. Certainly, the increasing use of video conferencing will require such spaces – enabling employees to participate freely and openly in semi-private without disrupting colleagues or feeling self-conscious. Take control of your soundscape. You can do much to improve it.
Managing with inclusivity in mind does not mean singling people out. Rather, decisions should be taken that work for neurodivergent individuals, but also deliver clear benefits across the entire staff. Remember: Design for The Extreme Benefits the Mean. Making a space more inclusive is not a once-and-done exercise. Employees should be encouraged to contribute ideas and opinions. Time and effort should be taken to regularly review changes and gather feedback.
Check out the Healthy Spaces initiative here. Additional resources will be added, including a free healthy space audit that you can take to determine the opportunities that exist for your organization.
Are you interested in learning more about what you can do to create healthy spaces for your organization? We can work with you and your team to identify specific unique needs and create a space that works for everyone. Reach out to Stefanie Ince, Executive Director, INDEAL Cares today.
Originally published on Nook's blog.