Universal design may sound like a décor strategy; instead, it is the concept of developing a space that is inherently accessible to everyone, regardless of age or disability. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of implementing universal design in the workplace.
According to a U.S. census, roughly one in five people in the country live with a disability.
Offices that emphasize accessibility can cater to a wider range of talent and clients. Here’s how:
Clients and visitors who are comfortable in your front office will view your company more positively. By focusing on the needs of human beings, a universal design provides a frictionless experience for people as they walk through your doors. Comfortable seating, clearly labeled signs and optimal lighting can keep your guests in a good mood and put them in a position of responsiveness during meetings.
Creating an intuitively accessible space increases usability for everyone, which means less frustration and potentially fewer costs in the workplace.
By implementing universal design in a new office space, you can help avoid expensive retrofits or changes that may have to be added in the future.
Universal design can help improve the flexibility of your space as well. Having components like ramps alongside stairs can both aid people who use wheelchairs as well as those who need to conduct specific tasks like moving heavy office equipment.
An office built on universal design principles can greatly improve workplace safety. Design elements like handrails, low-height storage and intelligent lighting lower the risk of injury when employees and visitors engage with the space.
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Universal design also helps in cases where people in the workplace are injured. Those who need crutches or suffer from hearing loss, for example, will still be able to come into the office, making it easier for them to work with no issue. It’s important to note that universal design can also help with building compliance, as many components like braille signage might be required by law in your area.
Offices are commonly used to express the ideals and branding of a company. Incorporating design features that improve accessibility sends the message that your company values both diversity and safety. Implementing universal design effectively in your space opens up opportunities for engagement with people who may have specific disabilities or unique circumstances, allowing you to work with a greater number of skilled employees, regardless of any accessibility issues they may have.
Universal design ultimately rests on creating spaces that can serve a wide range of individuals. By implementing this approach, your organization can benefit from improved usability and safety, better company branding and more diverse talent.
Photos: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com, Zastolskiy Victor / Shutterstock.com, huney