Inclusivity in workplace culture: The Need of the Hour

With work culture becoming more competitive and fast-paced than ever, companies are realizing the importance of creating an inclusive workplace culture. Inclusivity is not just a moral obligation but a necessity. An inclusive workplace has a direct correlation with employee motivation, well-being, and productivity, and can ultimately lead to a thriving workplace community.

Let's discuss the need for inclusivity in workplace designs and work culture along with some examples embodying the concept of inclusivity by Space Matrix.

The Necessity of Inclusivity in the Workplace

When an organization fosters an inclusive environment, it contributes to the overall motivation, well-being, and productivity of its employees, which ultimately leads to a thriving workplace community. Employees who feel valued and included are more likely to be committed to their work and have a sense of belonging, which can increase their engagement and overall job satisfaction. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental human rights, and it's essential to ensure that all employees feel respected and valued for who they are. 

Creating an inclusive work environment goes beyond just hiring a diverse workforce but following through with providing for their diverse needs; it involves creating a culture where individuals feel valued, included, and respected for their unique qualities and perspectives. Regardless of an individual's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic, they should be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to contribute to the success of the organization, and fostering inclusivity is the first step towards achieving this goal. Inclusive workplace designs ensure accessiblity and opportunity to all employees. Some of the many examples of such designs include amenities like wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, elevators with braille buttons for the disabled, artwork that honours different cultures and ethnicities and gender-neutral restrooms that employees can use without feeling alienated.

How Design Can Drive Inclusivity and Equity in Your Diverse Workplace

Design plays a critical role in creating an inclusive and equitable workplace that values diversity and promotes belongingness. As organisations continue to become more diverse, ensuring that everyone feels welcomed, respected, and supported is essential.

One way design can drive inclusivity and equity is by considering the physical space of the workplace. This includes making it accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical abilities. Inclusive design cannot be an afterthought, rather it needs to be the starting point. Designing for disability requires wheelchair accessibility by widening doorways in addition to installing ramps. A well thought out design can also incorporate audio cues for individuals with visual impairments. Olfactory senses can be utilized to provide spatial awareness for the blind. Another way design can address issues of diversity and representation is by incorporating inclusive imagery into the workplace. For instance, local art and design elements can represent the diversity of the workforce and surrounding community, allowing everyone to feel a sense of belongingness.

Employers can also drive inclusivity through policies, procedures, and communication tools. Organisations can create policies that support diversity, equity, and inclusion by ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and respectfully. This includes developing procedures that minimize bias and discrimination in hiring, promotion, and evaluation all of which need to manifest in the workplace design. Technology is another enabler of inclusivity and is a critical aspect of inclusive design. Companies and Brands can create messaging that uses inclusive language, avoids stereotypes, and is culturally sensitive. This includes making sure that all employees have access to the same communication tools, regardless of their physical or linguistic abilities.

 Northern Trust office: inclusivity in workplace designs

Besides being one of the largest Banks in the US, Northern Trust also has the values of inclusivity and wellness at its core. When the financial services company approached Space Matrix the memo was to design a space that was intuitive to use, especially for people with special needs. The office interior utilizes various senses to convey information and create a more enjoyable working experience. It also includes several distinctive features, such as navigation aids to enhance accessibility. The design recognizes that individuals experience spaces differently, which ultimately boosts employee productivity and satisfaction. The design incorporates fundamental principles, including sound quality, climate control, and spatial awareness.

In line with the principle of inclusivity, Space Matrix has integrated design elements that facilitate an all-encompassing experience, even for those with disabilities. The office design includes contrasting quiet and busy zones, aiding individuals with disabilities in navigating the space. The flooring incorporates various materials such as carpets, vinyl, concrete, and wood, and includes tactile strips for easy navigation. Additionally, Braille signage and strategically placed artwork throughout the Northern Trust office serve as both navigational aids and welcoming accents.

Why Workplace Culture is Essential for Business Success

Workplace culture is essential for the success of any business, as it can significantly impact the engagement and productivity of employees, as well as the overall success of the organization. By fostering an inclusive culture, companies can tap into the collective intelligence of their diverse workforce and drive innovation. An inclusive culture can benefit a business in many ways. Firstly, it can help a company expand its market reach and increase business opportunities. By having a diverse workforce, companies can better understand and cater to the needs of a broader customer base. For example, a company with employees from different cultural backgrounds can help create products and services that are more culturally relevant and appealing to a broader audience.

Furthermore, when employees feel that their opinions and contributions are valued, they are more likely to be loyal and committed to their employer. An inclusive culture can help foster a sense of belongingness among employees and create a positive work environment that promotes engagement, motivation, and loyalty. In turn, this can help reduce turnover rates and improve employee retention, which can ultimately save a business time and money in recruitment and training. One way of achieving this is by investing in diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as unconscious bias training and employee resource groups. This not only helps create a more engaged and motivated workforce but also drives the company's growth and success.

Prudential Singapore office: inclusivity at workplace

Cultural transformation is the central theme for the Prudential Office in Singapore and also an important facet of the Insurance firm’s Corporate Personality. When it embarked on this journey of change, Space Matrix helped the organisation envision its “Trust in Change” strategy. The movement included workshops, brainstorming sessions and activities that helped the Company understand the needs of the workforce better. It also gave the design team insights which culminated in the office design concept of “Embracing Change”.

The resulting final outcome was an employee-centric, inclusive workplace with next to zero enclosed work zones and spaces, adaptable office furniture and the biggest highlight of the workspace - the four cocoon-shaped timber domes that house workstations and collaborative zones. The timber dome mimics the shape of a pod that protects the seeds, similar to how the organisation intends to protect its employees, their beliefs and identities.

An inclusive workplace culture is essential for creating a positive work environment that promotes employee motivation, well-being, and productivity. Inclusivity is more than just a necessity and can be seen as an opportunity to tap into newer markets and widen the reach of the organisation.

Is inclusivity an important factor for your brand as well?

Space Matrix can help you revamp your workspace and assist you starting from the ideation of an inclusive workplace design to its execution and build.

Contact our Experts today to know more!