Design for sensory disorders in the workplace

Jenna Herbert
ARC620 | Fall 2019

The way we design offices reflects our values as a society. With our current startup culture, open offices have become the norm in the United States. Research by Sage finds that 80% of U.S. offices are designed with an open office scheme. Open offices are desirable to employers because they are cost effective and thought to promote collaboration and productivity.

Surveys by Sage have found that employees are in some ways dissatisfied by the open office environment. Many of the complaints of the open office are the levels of distractions. These distractions come in many forms, including human interaction interruptions. However, many of the distractions in the open office come in the form of sensory disruptions.

By focusing on occupants with sensory disorders, such as autism, designers will design a workplace that is better for everyone. Sensory stimuli can negatively impact everyone, not just those with diagnosed sensory disorders. These stimuli come in many forms, each of which should be considered and addressed when designing the workplace, a space where people spend much of their lives.