Featured image: Adama, Reading
Inclusiveness should make up a huge part of your office culture, with all employees educated on how to make the office a better place. Embracing accessibility is just one way to improve company culture, as well as flexibility, autonomy and great relationships within the office. Aside from workplace culture, it is incredibly important for office spaces to meet the requirements of all employees. But as hard as they may try, many offices might just miss the mark when it comes to accessibility. Luckily, we can help. One of the many benefits of working with an office fit out company is they can tailor to the needs of any workplace. As design experts, we can advise on some of the best features to include in an accessible office design. Continue reading for our accessible design tips that will help you make your office a more inclusive space.
6 features of an accessible office design
1. Wide doorways and paths
The working day starts when you walk through the office doors, so you need to ensure that all employees can actually enter the office hassle-free. Wide doorways ensure easy access for all employees, whether they require equipment such as wheelchairs and walking aids, or simply struggle with movement. The same applies for your office space – be sure to provide plenty of room for all employees to easily move around the office. Even a small office design can do this – our blog post about how to maximise space in your office offers guidance on how to do so. This will help you to attract new employees who may need access requirements. Plus, it makes life a little easier for existing employees who may find themselves squeezing through narrow spaces. So, whether you’re considering an office refurbishment or perhaps embarking on an office relocation, be sure to consider the space available.
For people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility, ramps can be a life saver. Lots of steps can be strenuous, and are completely inaccessible to wheelchair users. Don’t let visitors, employees or clients be confronted with an impossible mountain of stairs before even entering your office. It’s important to make sure everyone can gain access to your office, and ramps will make this possible. This is especially significant for the healthcare sector, who may see lots of visitors who will need to access you via ramps.
3. Accessible parking
Being inclusive extends beyond the office interior to your parking too. Ensure that your office has plenty of accessible parking spaces so it’s convenient for employees and visitors to make their way to your office. These parking spaces should be positioned as close to the building entrance as possible to limit the space that people have to travel across. Companies should also be sure to educate other employees on the importance of leaving these spaces available for those who need them.
4. Flexible workstations
For a truly accessible and ergonomic office design, workstations should offer flexibility for employees to choose how they work. Furniture additions such as adjustable desks and ergonomic seating help to make your office easier to adapt to the needs of all employees. Creating different areas within the office can also help to make employees feel more comfortable. For example, a calm office breakout area can give employees the opportunity to relax and take some time away from the bustle of the office. Other ideas for your accessible office design are a relaxation room and a touchdown area to give employees the freedom to choose how and where they spend their time in the office. This is especially important for catering to hidden disabilities like anxiety and depression, where employees may benefit from a quiet space in the office.
5. Accessible toilets and communal areas
Modern offices are so much more than just a group of desks – with an increase in coffee and snack bars, game rooms, and all sorts of unorthodox additions, it’s important that these are accessible too. Basic facilities like toilets and washrooms should be made completely accessible to all employees, but don’t forget about other facilities too. Keeping washroom facilities available to everyone is essential for improving and maintaining office hygiene, so you must ensure that they remain inclusive and easily accessible.
6. Good office lighting
Some people may struggle with their vision, which is why good office lighting is essential. Not only does including plenty of healthy, natural light improve productivity, but it makes life easier for employees with limited vision. Always take lighting into consideration when planning your office refurbishment so that you can cater to everyone who steps foot in the office.
Are you looking to revamp your office space to make it more accessible? Why not work with an experienced office fit out company to enhance your office space? Get in touch with us to discuss how you can improve your office design.