Lab planning and design typically focus on discovery and efficiency, emphasizing collaborative workspaces. However, these designs often overlook the well-being of lab users, which is crucial due to the increasing demand for researchers. Traditional lab environments can hinder recruitment and retention, especially for neurodivergent individuals. To make labs more inclusive and comfortable, designers can implement five strategies:
- Natural Light and Circadian Rhythm: Introducing natural light enhances well-being, mood, and focus. Light shelves and interior glass windows can draw light into lab spaces.
- Flooring and Ergonomics: Rubber flooring reduces physical strain, and adjustable work settings improve comfort and productivity.
- Wayfinding, Color, and Biophilia: Clear wayfinding, well-placed colors, and biophilic elements reduce disorientation and stress.
- Assistive Technology: Noise-canceling headphones and talk-to-text software minimize distractions and improve inclusivity.
- Amenity and Writeup Spaces: These areas offer flexibility and autonomy, accommodating various preferences and tasks.
Designing with empathy can create more inclusive and comfortable lab environments for all users, considering the neurodiversity spectrum.
Read HOKFORWARD’s article here.