Trends, But Not As We Know Them! : Chapter IIII Neurodiversity
As part of the collection of blogs ‘Trends But Not As We Know Them!’ this week’s chapter focuses on Neurodiversity.
What is Neurodiversity?
According to The Local Government Association Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. It highlights that people naturally think about things differently. We have different interests and motivations and are naturally better at some things and poorer at others.
Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects.
However, it is estimated that more than 15% of people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently.
Something to bear in mind is not everyone is tested or diagnosed so there is a view that this percentage could be over double at nearing 40%.
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that covers a range of conditions including:
Source: The Local Government Association
Below is a graph taken from the Office for National Statistic showing that in April 2022 hybrid working was still on the incline.
Neurodivergence and the Workplace
Some of the greatest minds in history were Neurodivergent, including Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, Albert Einstein and Sir Issaac Newton.
According to Joe Hurst, from Altro, the UK has been slow to recognise the need for accommodating people who are Neurodivergent. It is believed that we are over 7 years behind the developments made in the United States.
Despite the fact that people with neurodiversity often show extremely beneficial traits to the workforce, they are a whopping 3 times more likely to be unemployed, with 85% of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder being unemployed, according to mydisabilityjob.com.
Did you know?….
- Research shows that conditions such as autism and dyslexia can bestow special skills in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics.
- Autism presents higher IQ scores than average.
- Studies found that neurodiverse teams are 30% more productive than neurotypical ones and made fewer errors.
Attracting a Neurodiverse workforce?
So how can we attract a Neurodiverse workforce? According to Steph Kyle, a speaker at Material Source Manchester, who has Autism, one size doesn’t fit all. If you have met one person with Autism, you have met ONE person with Autism! It doesn’t make you a specialist and not everyone with Neurodiversity is the same.
Neurodivergent spectrums are on is not linear. Its not as simple as one person is higher on the spectrum than another. Autism, for example, is broken into a variety of traits on an Autism Wheel. Someone might score highly on noise sensitivity and low on anxiety, whilst another might score highly on anxiety and low on poor eye contact. Somebody might be Hypersensitive to light and gain enjoyment/stimulus from it. Another might be Hyposensitive and avoid light.
So, if everyone is different how can employers ensure everyone is catered for? The true answer is we can’t! But what we do know is offering a flexible workplace supports individual needs. Richard Mazuch, another speaker at Material Source, said its important to be able to choreography your own environment.
Top ten Interior Design Tips for Designing for Neurodiversity
Here is Truline’s top ten tips for designing for Neurodiversity:
- Offer spaces with a variety of lighting – depending on the individual they may be Hypersensitive or Hyposensitive to light.
- Colour code zones for logical wayfinding – some people who are neurodivergent find literary wayfinding difficult.
- Separate areas of high and low stimulus – keep noisy collaboration areas away from quiet focal areas
- Provide natural light and ventilation – this is proven to be beneficial to people who are neurodivergent and also a known mood booster for Neurotypical people. Some Neurodivergent individuals can be sensitive to smells so ensure canteens and breakout areas are well ventilated to prevent food smells lingering.
- Provide dynamic views for passive supervision – use glazed partitions to allow people to see in and out of meeting rooms, where possible have views to the outdoors and nature
- Offer multipurpose quiet rooms for anxiety, breastfeeding, prayer
- Scatter real plants around a scheme – both Neurodivergent and Neurotypical people benefit from Biophilia
- Use a natural colour scheme – Colours associated with nature are much more palatable for Neurodivergent individuals.
- Choose curves – curves take 4000 x less processing power to process than straight lines
Is Neurodiversity the new buzz word in Interior Design?
Is Neurodiversity the new buzz word in interior design? The industry needs to ensure its not just paying lip service to it within workplace interior design schemes. And how do we do this? By making it an important focus within the brief taking process. A consultation with the team can help understand the needs of the individuals that work there.
During Altro’s Designing for the Mind seminar at Material Source, Joe Hunt’s son, 9 year old Ruben, who waited 3 years for a diagnosis of Autism, spoke to the audience and said “Consult us. We have thoughts and ideas too!”
Ruben’s favorite quote, from the film Fantastic Mr. Fox, is a perfect summary for this blog…. “We are all different, but there’s something kind of fantastic about that, isn’t there?”.
Thank goodness we are all different! To attract a diverse workforce we need to create a diverse workspace.
For more information on Designing for Neurodiversity please click the link below to access the British Standards Institute new guide which was released mid-October.
Would you would like Truline Construction & Interior Services to attend your premises to offer a free consultation to discuss how we can create a Neurodivergent friendly interior design of your office?
If you are interested in other chapters of the ‘Trends But Not As We Know Them!’ blog please follow this link
TO SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR OFFICE INTERIOR DESIGNERS ABOUT COLLABORATING ON A WORKPLACE OFFICE FIT OUT IN MANCHESTER AND THE NORTH WEST PLEASE CALL TRULINE CONSTRUCTION & INTERIOR SERVICES ON 01942 227333 OR EMAIL INFO@TRULINE-CIS.CO.UK.