Bangkok, August 31, 2022 – IKEA is collaborating with STEPS, a community organization, which provides access to work skills and employability training for young adults, some of whom are neurodivergent, to create an “Inclusive Office” model which promotes universal design and a world that embraces everyone’s differences. This model is designed for everybody and supports the determination of both IKEA and STEPS to ensure that society accepts people’s differences while making the world everyone’s home.
Waranthorn Tachakunakorn, Inspiration & Communications Manager, IKEA Thailand, explained the motivation for the Inclusive Office collaboration, saying, “At IKEA, we believe in diversity and want to make the world equal for everyone to have a good quality of living. IKEA has designed a variety of products, in terms of design, price and functionality, to support people with different needs. We are proud to be part of this program as we are aware of the potential of neurodivergent people, including those with autism. They all have the ability to work and live effectively. We, therefore, have to design a work environment and accommodations that incorporate the diversity and differences of users.”
Max Simpson, CEO and co-founder of the STEPS Community, said. “We are committed to building an inclusive community. This is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with IKEA as an organization that shares our vision to create accessible work environments, especially for people with disabilities. Our goal is to empower organizations to use our inclusive office model in their own environments. In our setting, the model has been applied to a 100 sqm. room which can accommodate up to 25 employees, but it can be adapted to fit any space. We appreciate IKEA’s support in providing the furniture and decorations alongside their team of design experts to create a beautiful space that enables STEPS employees to reach their full potential.”
Five ways to create an “Inclusive Office” designed for everyone:
1. Zone Spaces by Activity: Zoning spaces in your office by activity help to make the responsibilities within that area clearer for everyone. A set of cabinets or bookshelves can be used to divide the zones.
2. Provide Individual Lighting Options: People perform better with different types of lighting. Options include smart lighting, such as dimmable bulbs or a range of lamps that offer up-lighting and downlighting, or allowing employees to pick lamps at the right height to control their environment as needed without impacting others.
3. Provide a Wide Variety of Seating Options: The chair is another furniture item with different preferences. Some people prefer chairs with wheels, some prefer static chairs, or with armrests, high backs or low backs. Users should have the opportunity to choose their own chair, which can be in different colors or made using the same materials.
4. Offer Desk Options: Choose desks that can be adjusted by height to support each person’s use and body type. In addition, some employees may prefer to stand at work to alternate their posture, while some tasks require a standing position to move around more easily.
5. Keep Spaces Organized: Planning out your space in advance or adapting as the needs of the environment change is another important way to support workflows. Employees are able to work more independently and efficiently when the work process is clear.
About IKEA Thailand
Since its founding in Sweden in 1943, IKEA has created a better everyday life for many people by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishings at prices so low, a majority of people can afford them. Today, IKEA is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, with more than 456 stores in 61 countries – including those in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand which are owned and operated by Ikano Private Limited. We incorporate sustainability into our day-to-day business and support initiatives that benefit children and the environment. To learn more, visit IKEA.co.th
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