Role of Furniture in Inclusive Office Designs
Both for moral and reputational reasons, there’s been a huge push among offices and other business buildings to improve inclusivity within their walls. Creating a workplace that’s inclusive to everyone, including people with disabilities or daily obstacles, is very important – and the kind of furniture design setup you utilize often plays a key role here. At Premier Office Design & Furniture, we’re here to offer a wide range of office furniture services for clients around Salt Lake City, including space planning, furniture installation, furniture recycling and more. We’ve assisted numerous clients with improving inclusivity in their offices, and we know exactly the kinds of approaches that are optimal here. Let’s look at the challenges those with disabilities may face in the workplace, why inclusivity is vital for helping them through these challenges, and how the right office furniture can be helpful in this pursuit.
Challenges People With Disabilities Face in the WorkplaceAs an employer or office manager, it’s essential to recognize the types of challenges people with disabilities may face in a work environment. These are often related to physical and mental disabilities, as well as daily obstacles such as hearing difficulties or vision impairments. Common challenges here include:
- Limited access to information: Those who have difficulty reading standard documents or comprehending spoken instructions may not be able to access the same information as their co-workers.
- Physical obstacles: For those who use wheelchairs or need other assistive devices, physical barriers such as steps or hard-to-reach furniture can limit their ability to move around the office.
- Difficulty communicating: People with hearing and vision impairments may find it difficult to communicate with their co-workers or effectively take part in meetings.
- Sensory issues: For those with sensory processing issues, the office environment may present too much stimuli or bright lights that can be overwhelming. Noise sensitivity, for instance, can make it hard for people to focus.
Why Inclusivity MattersIt’s essential for businesses to recognize and understand these challenges, as they can create a major disadvantage for those with disabilities. Not only is this unfair on an individual level, but it can also affect the productivity of the entire office and drag down the morale of other employees. By creating an inclusive workplace, it’s possible to improve the overall working environment and ensure everyone is able to work seamlessly together – regardless of any physical or mental challenges they may be facing.There are also legal and reputational reasons why inclusivity matters. Employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities – and by not doing so, they can be liable for fines or even legal repercussions. On a reputational level, this is also very important: customers and clients are likely to recognize if your office is creating an inclusive environment or not – so it’s worthwhile to make sure that your office is as inclusive as possible.
How Furniture Can HelpThe right furniture setup can be a huge help when it comes to creating a more inclusive workplace. Here are some key tips for setting up furniture in an office:
- Increase accessibility: Look out for obstacles such as steps or platforms, as these can make it difficult for those with disabilities to move around. Consider investing in more accessible furniture, such as lower tables or adjustable chairs.
- Make sure everyone has the same access: Make sure that all staff members have an equal opportunity to access documents and other items stored within the office. Invest in storage systems that are easy for everyone to reach.
- Install assistive technology: For those with hearing impairments or vision impairments, consider installing the necessary assistive technologies that can help them do their job better. This may include speech-recognition software or magnifying tools for the visually impaired.
- Consider acoustics: For those with difficulty hearing or sensory issues, consider installing soundproofing in the office. This can help reduce any distracting noises and make it easier for people to focus on their work.