Sensory-friendly coworking space in shared offices.
Coworking space design is a topic of interest in shared workspaces. Large companies create coworking spaces for their employees to work together. Individual offices are reduced or may not even exist. Workers may share desks and worksurfaces. Small companies and solo-entrepreneurs use coworking spaces too. In those instances, space is rented both short and long term.
The use and design of coworking spaces have benefits. But there can be challenges too. Make your coworking space sensory-friendly to address the needs of workers. When I work with a company or a coworking space to complete a sensory-friendly transformation, I have a checklist that has more than 70 points to review. In this blog post, you will learn some key features and highlights.
To be sensory-friendly, you must attend to the eight senses. Yes, you have eight senses!
One of the most helpful things to do in coworking space design is to review lighting. Use a lighting checklist.
In a shared workspace, a pivotal question to ask is, do lights and natural light contribute to the health of the building? The answer should be yes. This coworking space design idea is not just a” bright” idea. Access to daylight is critical. In short, lighting can contribute to health by offering adjustable brightness from multiple lighting sources. For example, ensure there are both overhead lights and desk lights. If you have standard fluorescent lights, cover then with special light filters or diffusers.
One of the critical disadvantages of coworking is noise. Especially in shared office space, background noise can be a problem. Offset this and ensure quiet areas and quiet rooms are made available. Add noise dampening materials like carpet tile and acoustic wall or ceiling tiles.
One of the considerations co-working space design is taste. Necessarily, make sure there is access to food and beverage on site. In particular, access to water is critical. Workers need to eat and drink regularly. A coworking space requirement is an office kitchen. Furthermore, choose an office location that has lunchtime eateries nearby.
One way to offer a creative coworking space design is to pay attention to touch and the tactile experience. So, how closely do people work together? Some people like to work together. Some do not and are more productive in private spaces. Modular office tables can be a solution to allow different configurations. Provide both social spaces, with comfortable seating where people can work together. Alternatively, provide options for single-person workspaces.
The key to enhancing the benefits of coworking spaces through design is paying attention to the sense of smell. Ever be exposed to a bad smell at work? It cannot be ignored and no work gets done. The first thing to do is to design a system so that waste and recycling is managed. They are the most significant contributors to smell.
One of the common downsides of coworking spaces is their location. If you are choosing to rent, buy, or build, check out the location’s walkability score. Chose one with a high walk score that is accessible by walk, bike, and transit, in addition to parking.
On the other hand, what are the benefits of coworking? Coworking spaces often have a gym or active living space inside. A healthy worker is a happy worker, so including space to move is vital.
Finally, how to design a modern coworking space? Simple, make it accessible. Make the accessibility features so integral to the design they do not stand out. Accessibility isn’t just for people who use wheelchairs. Accessibility features help people who have a difference in any of their senses. They also help people who use other mobility devices like a cane or walker. And they help people who do not use any sort of assistive device at all.
Here is another coworking space design tip, how is the worker’s sense of balance used at work? If there are elevators, ensure stairs are open for use and not just in case of emergency.
The anatomy of good coworking space design includes interoception. That is your eighth sense. It tells you when you are hungry, thirsty, or have to go to the bathroom. It is your internal organ sense. So, ensure bathroom facilities easily and readily accessible to all. That means gender-neutral, wheelchair accessible bathrooms on every floor. And ensure bathrooms are in sufficient quantity.
Remember, your coworking space checklist is eight points. Make your shared workspace sensory-friendly and you will have happy, healthy, and productive workers.
Finally, companies that support autism also adopt a sensory-friendly workspace. Autism-friendly companies often have a neurodiverse workforce. Their workers are more likely to have sensory sensitivity or experience sensory overload. Furthermore, an autism-friendly work desk is sensory-friendly too.
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Christel Seeberger has been an occupational therapist for more than 25 years, helping people of all ages who experience sensory sensitivity and sensory overload. Christel understands how sensitivity and overload feel, she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. Christel founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016 to bring together people around the world looking for sensory-friendly living and the individuals, businesses and organizations who create sensory friendly experiences.