Neurodiversity and Office Design

The term neurodiversity essentially means the range of differences in brain function and behavioural traits.

Often, the term is used in the context of autistic spectrum disorders.

However, the natural range of variation in human cognition is far broader than originally thought. About 15% to 20% of people fit into the definition of ‘neurodivergent’.

This refers to people with autism spectrum disorder, an attention deficit syndrome, dyslexia or Tourette syndrome.

Unfortunately, many office based organisations operate under the thinking that they need to recruit people to fit their environment.

However, studies have shown that it’s far more productive to offer a working environment that caters for all sorts of people.

In that vein, here are some ways to make your office more neurodiverse.

Include Neurodiverse People in Your Planning

Offer your people choice.

The very best results will come from having neurodiverse people involved in your design process. This is because they are the ones most affected by the decisions.

Give People Choices

Offering a variety of microenvironments for your people to choose from will be a big bonus for your staff. They’ll be able select the area that works best for them.

That may be a quiet, warm environment, or one with dazzling colours and a cooler temperature.

This will help to negate the problems that spring up when an environment is not suited to different types of workers.


The key here is to avoid overstimulation.

Therefore, ensure the lighting in your office is not overdone. Natural light should be used where possible, but the artificial light that you do use must not be harsh.

Installing dimmable or adjustable lighting is a great way to tackle this problem, and offer choice.


A loud office can overstimulate your staff.

This is a particularly common issue in open plan offices, but it can be addressed.

By offering detached, individual workspaces you can give your staff the option of avoiding the noise distractions that may occur in the main office.

Moreover, acoustic ceiling tiles, plants and other measures can be taken to reduce the effect of noise in your office.


Ensure that you settle on a temperature which is comfortable for all workers.

Offices which are too cold or too hot can be damaging to the focus and productivity of your workers, particularly those which are neurodiverse.

To discuss designing a workplace for your business which is neurodiverse, get in touch with Niche Projects here.