Online Tool Helps Tarkett Design for Neurodiversity
Tarkett North America has teamed up with HOK to help clients and designers better understand neurodiverse employees and their unique needs for work environments.
The collaboration has resulted in an online tool that supports the material selection and placement process.
“As organizations continue to prioritize the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce, neurodiversity is an important consideration that should not be overlooked,” says Kay Sargent, director of workplace at global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK. “There is a compelling human and business case to be made for understanding how the physical environment can impact the well-being of each employee in a workspace, thus impacting performance.”
One in eight people is considered neurodivergent, though fewer than 50 per cent are aware of it. Neurodivergent thinkers bring a broad set of valuable skills to any organization, including analytics and critical thinking, creativity and innovation. In the correct setting, these strengths can be heightened with supportive environments and purposeful design.
The new online tool provides a resource that helps clients and designers understand the spectrum of sensitivity (hyposensitive to hypersensitive), and guides them through important material and layout decisions that support each employee. The goal is to provide a greater variety of spaces, so employees are able to find a workspace that suits them and their work style preferences.
“Throughout Tarkett’s history, we’ve been committed to designing healthy flooring products around the practical, everyday needs of the people who use, install and maintain them,” says Leslie Thompson, director of workplace segment for Tarkett North America. “We think this tool will help both clients and interior designers consider and support the needs of neurodiverse people, which allows the entire organization to perform more effectively.”
In addition to the online platform, Tarkett is working on a continuing education course on this topic for designers and architects. It is planned for release this fall.