There’s no one right way to measure workplace diversity and business performance. According to a systematic review, equality and diversity need to be “embedded in the business strategy, not treated as an ad-hoc addition”.
Consistent with all universal design thinking – it has to be thought of from the outset. Then thought about throughout the design process, whether it is a building, a service or a business policy and strategy. The research was commissioned by the Design Council. The findings make for interesting reading because they discuss the benefits as well as some of the drawbacks that need managing along the way. There are several references to original research included in the article.
Here is a quote from the Design Council report:
“Benefits of diversity and inclusion are found to include: reduced costs; improved resourcing of talented personnel; better products and services; enhanced corporate image; improved creativity and problem-solving; better decision making; innovation; greater flexibility; increased productivity; improved organisational performance and efficiency; enhanced trust in relationships, satisfaction and commitment within the workforce; and improved customer relations and service delivery.” (Rohwerder, 2017, p.2)
Diversity and inclusion needs to be managed well. If not, it can lead to conflict and loss of productivity. However, some research suggests that a difficult start can still lead to productive results in the longer term. Hence, diversity becomes the norm for an inclusive workplace.
Winston Churchill famously said, “‘we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Many would agree. But what about space – does that shape us too? In his article about office workspaces, Scott Simpson says the design of the spaces in which we live, work and play has a profound effect on how people interact. “Sometimes the effect is quite subtle, and sometimes it is more obvious, but in all cases, space shapes the context for what we do and how we do it, even though its effect is frequently taken for granted.” He goes on to say that the way space is configured creates the context, sets the tone and gives off subtle yet powerful messages for how people are expected to behave. The article is on the Design Intelligence website.