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Accessibility in Workplace Design

What we hope for our workplaces is that they are comfortable, safe, and accessible for both customers and our staff. Even better if those workplaces were joyful, beautiful, and contributed to employee and customer engagement. To get to joyful, we first have to consider creative solutions to issues of accessibility.

Challenges in workplaces come from those who have physical, mental, and developmental challenges. At the most basic level, accessibility means we need people who are mobile in wheelchairs to be able to come into the building, use the restrooms, and access the goods or services of the business.

In addition to these basics, guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, we want our workplace to be welcoming to all. We want it to be safe in the event of a natural disaster. There are several ways that design thinking can assist a business in these goals.

Design thinking is a type of creative problem solving specific to design-based solutions. It involves bringing creativity, empathy, and rationality to the table. The starting point to this type of thinking is always the client’s goals and needs.

An example of the way this works is by considering a particular problem, and then designing solutions. An older building with four stories and two elevators needs to update their fire safety system. In the building are several businesses. Some of these businesses employ people with developmental disabilities. Another business has a client base that is mostly new immigrants. By using empathy and creativity, design staff can work their way through a burning building with any number of imaginary clients or staff, visualizing problem points. The rationality comes when a number of potential solutions are designed to fit within the client’s budget and various building codes and legal responsibilities.

Part of recent efforts toward diversity and inclusion include the issues that will make workplaces accessible for all. Design professionals bring a unique skill set to problem-solving a complex design issue.

 

We would love to work with you to design your perfect workplace. Get in touch!