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By Ramona Tanay
In recent case studies, carried out by ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), they highlight the trend of interior designers striving to address the growing demand of businesses – make the workplace more visually and practically inclusive.
As the values and priorities of businesses evolve to reflect those of contemporary society, so too does the physical workspace morph, transpose, and evolve.
Why Inclusivity Matters
Inclusivity means creating a feeling of acceptance, fostering an environment where others feel they belong. For employers who strive to obtain and retain top talent, fostering a welcoming environment is a top priority. Members of today’s talented and creative workforce are more selective about whom they will work for and about what conditions they will tolerate.
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Dealing with racism in the workplace is a no-win for any party. A business that is viewed as discriminatory will quickly see its top resources – its employees – flee in droves. Those who stay on board will see their creativity stifled by a restrictive narrow-minded environment. Instead, a smart and ambitious company will seek to create an environment that actively encourages a diversity of thought, an environment where all people and all perspectives are welcome.
A Global Mindset
The vast majority of large and mid-sized companies seek to be global players. This is not possible without embracing the diversity of our world and creating an image of inclusivity.
Inclusivity Fosters Employee Engagement
Inclusivity is also a major motivating factor in employee engagement. How is the employee supposed to feel engaged if he or she doesn’t even feel welcome?
An engaged employee is one who has control over his or her work experience. They feel trusted and encouraged to use their unique skills and character traits that they know can add value to the organization. Creating an inclusive environment that fosters employee engagement means showing trust and flexibility. One way to do this is in the physical space of the work environment.
The Visual Components of an Inclusive Workspace
Open Space With No Assigned Desks
There is a striking and immediate visual difference between today’s inclusive workspace and the restrictive out-dated ones of yesteryear – the open space.
Many new companies are opting for ‘no assigned desk’ practices. This means the employees are free to choose where they work, which can change from day to day or from task to task. The intended benefits of this practice are that:
- Employees are encouraged to socialize more
- Employees are empowered by the control they have over their environment which is likely to carry over into their work, stimulating them into taking more initiative and more ownership of their work
- Employees are more likely to be comfortable
- The hierarchy among employees is demolished – or at least not so overt – which tends to lead to less infighting and greater cooperation
An open non-assigned workspace is a clear signal to employees that the company trusts them to have control over their work environment. They feel empowered and they feel encouraged to take initiative and work cooperatively with their colleagues.
One of the most obvious and intentional signs an office is attempting to create an inclusive work environment is in the accessibility of their facilities. That means providing certain amenities which eliminate the exclusion of people with physical disabilities. This includes:
- Wheelchair ramps
- Braille signage
- Handicap parking spaces
- Automatic doors
Creating an environment that has clearly been designed to be inclusive to all people further instills this mindset in the employees on a daily basis. The visual signs cannot be ignored and serve as a constant reminder – if need be – that the company values and welcomes all people. This translates – in subtle and not so subtle ways – into a more welcoming and respectful environment.
Agile workplaces are designed to offer flexibility, empower employees to make choices about their work environment, and take ownership of their work experience.
Furthermore, an agile workspace should increase productivity in the following ways:
- Better collaboration among workers
- Attracting and retaining top talent
- Increased workplace happiness
- Better stress management
- Promoting initiative
The common thread to any agile workspace is the concentrated focus on flexibility. Whether it’s a conventional desk and chair or a soft cushion on the floor, an isolated quiet room, or a larger open space – the workers have options. This signals to them clearly and immediately that their company has a certain amount of flexibility, that their company respects their decisions, and trusts them to take control of their environment.
The mindset an agile open space work environment or office encourages will carry over into the work itself and into the overall company culture.
The impact of design on a company’s mindset, how that translates to their employees, and how that fosters engagement and strengthening of company culture is not a question of theory. We have decades-worth of data on the important subject. And designers and office managers are taking an evidence-based approach to design with predictable and encouraging results.
ALSO READ: Minimalism In Home Design
What signs can you see in your office that tell you it is an inclusive environment?
What amendments or improvements to its design could foster greater inclusivity?
Asking yourself these questions is not the first step toward creating an inclusive workspace or office. It should be a step that is taken on a continuous basis. Inclusivity, by definition, means constantly adapting to the people around us and creating an environment where they are welcome and feel like they belong.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)
Canadian researchers have discovered an overlooked gene that plays a major role in the development of antibodies, which help the immune system recognize and fight viruses including SARS-CoV-2, bacteria and other causes of infectious disease. The gene -- FAM72A -- facilitates production of high-quality antibodies by enabling the effect of an enzyme called AID (for Activation-Induced Deaminase), the researchers showed.
Immunologists have known for two decades that AID is essential to produce antibodies capable of clearing infections, but the full mechanism of its effect has remained unknown. "Our findings answer the long-standing question of how AID does its work," said Alberto Martin, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine. "FAM72A helps AID to promote mutations in antibody genes that are essential for the development of effective antibodies," he added.
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. | Pixabay
Genetic mutations that lead to lasting changes in DNA occur through a process called mutagenesis. In the context of antibody development, mutagenesis unfolds largely through the AID-driven mechanisms called somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination -- both of which help antibodies gain the diversity and potency they need to counter a wide range of pathogens.
The results published in the journal Nature will help researchers better understand antibody development broadly, but they also have implications for cancer. Uncontrolled mutagenesis in B cells that produce antibodies is linked to B cell lymphoma, and FAM72A is present at very high levels in other cancers such as gastrointestinal, breast, lung, liver and ovarian cancers.
"Our data show that high levels of FAM72A promote mutations in antibody genes, so increased levels of FAM72A could spur cancer development, progression or drug resistance by increasing mutagenesis,a Martin said. Martin's team is now exploring those possibilities. Intriguingly, unlike other mammals, humans have four gene versions of FAM72A and their roles in cancer and antibody production are still unknown. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: researchers, cancer, mutagenesis, antibody, development, antibodies, canada, COVID
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.
This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.
The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash
This 50 MW solar power project will reduce CO2 emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, claimed the MCL. MCL is the leading production subsidiary of Coal India, having mining operations in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. Having achieved the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 2,419 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the company has coal production and dispatch targets of 163 million tonnes and 182 million tonnes, respectively.
MCL was the coal mining company to introduce environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: solar plant, carbon neutrality, Odisha, Sambalpur, Coal India, subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, solar energy
As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,
"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."
He then posted the picture followed by elaborate paragraphs. The megastar wrote,
"Those rare moments when one would find himself rushing against the winds to prevent the distance between us and to close it down as soon as it can be. The day of my wedding and his expression of fulfilment to not just be in congratulation but instead to be in the face of a belief, a chime, an ultimate season of love and great passion, of the quarries of the fears and conditionings of these deprived gym routines kart ..(sic)". "This could have been unknown for long facilitating years, to give not expected versions and lastly large scale informations of the insides ; but as time passed by, as does now , they explained purposely, the values of education and similarity .. Be in peace and love .. (sic)",
the veteran actor concluded his note. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, actor, blog, birth anniversary, 114th birthday