Creating ADHD-Friendly Workspaces: Designing for Productivity and Focus at Home and in the Office
Introduction: Understanding the Impact of Office Interior Design on ADHD
Office interior design, ADHD-friendly workspace, workplace design for ADHD, office design and productivity
Our Office Designers have been researching how design for people ADHD, and how neurodiversity it can affect someone’s day to day life at work.
ADHD affect people in many ways, lack of attention to detail, task hopping, poor organisational skills, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, restlessness, excessive talking or blurting out, irritability, or taking unnecessary risks these can be categories as inattentiveness or hyperactivity/impulsiveness. Some people struggle with both of these categories, other only struggle with the inattentiveness affects.
How to Design for ADHD
Let’s first think about how to organise your own home to run more smoothly. Do you struggle to focus when cleaning and easily get distracted by different more interesting things? Keep a small cubby of room relevant cleaning supplies in each room would mean you’ll be able to clean in the moment you are focused on it.
Next, open storage for your to do tasks. This can help some people, as some people with ADHD struggle with “out of sight, out of mind” or working memory impairment. So, by simple storing things in open storage, they are reminded what’s there and that it needs doing. This is something which can be done at home and in the office. Some people find the use of individual baskets for different tasks/projects useful.
This can also help to influence how your home looks, if you enjoy a craft, why not display the item you’re currently working on, on a shelf, then when you have the motivation, you can pick it up and continue with it. This means your home showcases the things you love, it doesn’t necessarily need to look like everyone else’s home to be beautiful.
Another practical office interior design idea for a commercial office or residential workspace is to have L shaped desks. This allows one side of the desk to be a “sprawl” space, allowing for all projects and tasks to be visible. The other side of the desk is for all the tools required to complete the tasks i.e. computer, phone, inbox etc. Also, a pull out/retractable keyboard tray is also useful for keeping desk space free.
Having localised adjustable lighting in office interiors can be helpful for people with sensory issues. This can be as simple as ensuing all windows have individual blinds, and desk lamps are available. But it can be difficult to control the lighting of a whole office to suit everyone, but having lights in banks might be more adjustable.
Allow co-workers to control the volume of their environment. This means allowing people to wear headphone/earphones or ear plugs when reasonable to do so. There’s a wide range of both, including earplugs which are designed to reduce background noise and enable focus for meetings and smaller conversations. Also consider acoustic dampening and how this can create a type of partitioning in a large office space.
Create a variety of workstations for people to change their office environment when necessary. This has become a popular choice as we move back into the office. Clients ask office interior designers to provide a variety of soft informal meeting spaces, individual pods for calls or quiet working. This change in environment/furniture and style can help everyone with fatigue and boost productivity. If you lack the capacity to do this on a big scale, is it possible to provide adjustable desks for individuals where necessary?
The most important thing to remember when creating an interior design for an inclusive office space, is to be open to the fact that everyone’s needs in the office can be different. Some people need absolute silence to focus, but to others this would make it more difficult to focus and even uncomfortable for them to sit still. This also applies to working styles not just environments, some people work better to a deadline, others like to have time for ideas to come more naturally.
Allow people to express how they work best and helping them make adaptation to their environment. Having trust in people to know how they work best is key to productivity.