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Start this year by creating a neurodivergent ecosystem

January 20, 2023

According to David O’Coimin, a professional product and experience designer, there is an urgency to address the change moment and rework the organisational designs to bring the office spaces to their fullest potential for individuals who work there. The world is a place for extremely social and neurotypical extroverts. The point to note here is that workspaces are missing what is called the ‘quiet’ which is essential for neurodivergent minds. With simple zoning techniques, an office space can be turned into an easy & accessible place for everyone.

Redefining well-being for the complex minds
The world is set up in a way that isn’t attuned to eccentrically diverse human minds. Well-being in workplaces is way beyond the game rooms & lounges. It should be linked to a sense of safety, both physical and psychological. While everyone views the world differently, their style of working is different too. Leaders should observe every team player’s working style and adapt it while working with them. From communication styles to working approaches, it all goes a long way. Right from the hiring process, advocating the professional and offering them opportunities for growth and empowerment can help in relationship building to a large extent. Especially when it comes to neurodivergent individuals, work buddies and trusted colleagues are expected to put in efforts to offer a long-term commitment to the relationships. Such connections offer a feeling of security by creating an environment for the allies.

Cost-effective ways of creating the ideal ecosystem
Instead of focusing on big changes, it is important to focus on smaller day-to-day steps. Just a slight tweak in the company policy can take the weight off the individuals. We all know that extroverts are extremely valuable assets to the company but everyone isn’t alike. Not even the most charged employees are always 100% efficient. The pressure to always be “on” needs to be replaced with simpler cost-effective strategies like flexible working models since everyone dreams to get a break from the hours-long commute and loud social gatherings once in a while. Apart from allowing flexibility in work life, team-building activities should be specifically conducted to penetrate deep feelings of belongingness across all individuals.

Dedicating a specialised area to experience the ‘quiet’
While the idea of creating an ‘ideal’ ecosystem focuses on creating gigantic spaces with several forms of engaging setups, workspaces can be modified to accommodate neurodiverse minds through a sheet of paper — establishing zones in your workspace. Zoning techniques are great ways to dedicate safe and customised spaces for different individualistic needs. For instance, a label that says “quiet” can offer much-needed peace to employees who need a 10-minute power nap at work. Simple ambient lighting to isolated peaceful planters spaces can make a whole lot of difference in calming the human mind.

Organizations are now more ready than ever to revamp their office spaces. The vision of business should meet a common goal of working collectively to offer equal opportunities for both neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals. By building a culture of flexibility, respecting differences and designing office spaces that work well for each and every employee, we can find a way to offer treats to complex human minds every now and then.



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