Tarkett North America, a worldwide flooring manufacturer, has teamed with HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, to help clients and designers better understand neurodiverse employees and their unique needs for work environments. The collaboration has resulted in a new online tool that supports the material selection and placement process. This includes thought starters to inspire the creation of more varied spaces and accommodate a broad range of requirements and workstyles.
Neurodiversity is a term that refers to variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions. While one in eight people is considered neurodivergent, fewer than 50% 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.
“As organizations continue to prioritize the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce, neurodiversity is an important consideration that should not be overlooked,” said Kay Sargent, Director of WorkPlace at 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.”
The new online tool from Tarkett and HOK 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 workstyle 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,” said Leslie Thompson, director, workplace segment for Tarkett North America. “We refer to this philosophy as Tarkett Human-Conscious DesignSM, and it drives us to continually develop our understanding of people’s diverse needs and preferences. 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 CEU course on this topic for designers and architects planned for release this fall. For more information about Tarkett’s comprehensive range of flooring solutions and accessories, visit www.tarkettna.com. High-res images available upon request.