News Article

Latest news

Inclusive Office Design: Designing for Accessibility in the Workplace

Office Kitchen with plants on lights and a plant pot in the corner of room

When it comes to giving your workspace a makeover, whether this is a fit out or a full refurbishment, there are many things to consider but there is one element that should be at the forefront of your design: accessibility.

When you prioritise accessibility in your workplace design, you go beyond creating a functional space; you create an environment that fosters inclusion, empowers your team, and values diversity. An accessible workplace demonstrates a commitment to ensuring all employees can contribute their best work and collaborate seamlessly.

Importance of Accessibility in the Workplace

Accessibility is crucial and that is why it plays such a significant role in why your office layout matters. When you prioritise accessibility, you allow individuals with disabilities to participate in all aspects of work-life. Employees with disabilities should have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed within the workplace from being able to access the physical office to its meeting rooms and even being able to use technology and other systems in place.

Prioritising accessibility in the workplace fosters a culture of inclusivity and respect for diversity. When employees see that their organisation is committed to accommodating their needs and removing barriers to participation, they feel valued, supported, and empowered to perform at their very best.

Meeting room with acoustic solutions - acoustic walls

4 Key Considerations for Designing An Accessible Workplace

1. Physical Office Accessibility

The foundation of an accessible workplace is ensuring a smooth and safe physical environment for everyone. This means creating barrier-free entry and exit points with automatic doors or easy-to-open handles. Bathrooms should be accessible, featuring wider stalls and grab bars. 

Hallways and doorways need ample width to allow for comfortable movement, and ramps or lifts should easily connect different floors and office levels. By making break areas and common areas accessible, such as lowering water fountains or installing accessible surfaces, employees can navigate the entire workspace freely and participate in all aspects of their work day.

2. Adjustable Office Furniture

In the realm of office ergonomics, adjustable office furniture has become a game-changer. Desks with electric or manual height adjustments empower employees to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day, promoting better posture, circulation, and overall well-being. 

Adjustable chairs with lumbar support and customisable armrests can be tailored to individual body types, reducing strain and discomfort. These features, along with monitor arms that allow for optimal screen positioning, create a workstation that adapts to the user, leading to a more comfortable and productive work experience.

3. Sensory Office Considerations

Not everyone thrives in the typical open office environment. Thankfully, creating a sensory-friendly workspace is becoming an increasingly recognised aspect of accessibility. This includes offering designated quiet spaces with good acoustics for focused work, free from distracting noise or clutter. For those with auditory sensitivities, noise-cancelling headphones can be a welcome accommodation. 

Lighting can also be a factor, so adjustable office lighting that allows for dimming or cooler tones can help reduce eye strain and headaches. By acknowledging sensory sensitivities and offering solutions, workplaces can foster a more comfortable and productive environment for a wider range of employees.

4. Accessible Meeting Spaces

Ensuring inclusivity should also extend to meeting rooms. Ideally, these spaces should be large enough to accommodate wheelchairs with ease, featuring wide doorways and round tables to avoid obstructing movement. Accessible features within the room itself are essential, including lowered counters for presentations and controls, and assistive listening systems for those with hearing impairments. 

Additionally, meeting spaces should be well-lit and have proper ventilation to cater to those with visual or respiratory sensitivities. By creating these accessible meeting environments, everyone can fully participate and contribute to collaborative discussions.

By implementing these elements of inclusive design, your office transformation goes beyond aesthetics; it becomes a powerful symbol of your commitment to a diverse and thriving workforce. Imagine an environment where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential. This is the power of an accessible workplace – a space designed for everyone to contribute their best and unlock innovation and success together.


Creating Accessibility In the Workplace With McFeggan Brown

Our comprehensive office fit-out service goes beyond mere aesthetics. We recognise and understand the unique requirements of your team, ensuring every aspect of your office design is tailored to promote inclusivity and accessibility for all. Contact us today to get started on creating your accessible office design.

If you liked this blog. Check out our blog ‘How to Design a Co-working Space or ‘18 Office Design Ideas That Will Transform Your Workspace’.