How to Manage Your Office Layout to Prevent Gender Bias
Your office's layout can have a significant impact on gender bias. Read to understand how.
Updated January 25, 2023.
Employees spend a significant portion of their day in the workplace, so it's important that they feel included and comfortable. Creating an office layout that doesn't promote gender bias is one way you can ensure this.
I won't be surprised if office layout is probably one of the last things that come to mind regarding gender bias. However, you might be surprised to find out how small, yet important, changes to your office layout can help to reduce gender bias drastically.
How Can Office Layout Result in Gender Bias?
A gender divide can be seen in how office space is allocated and accessed. Traditional offices are typically squared-off and segmented—thereby literally creating divides. This setup is best suited for hierarchies and a chain-of-command approach, which can lead to perceptions of being left out and undervalued.
Alternatively, open space offices can be more congenial and egalitarian. With fewer structural barriers, a more democratic work environment is possible that encourages collaboration among all employees.
■ Cater to different employee needs through flexible workspaces
Mitigate Gender Bias With These Office Layout Suggestions
Mitigating gender bias in the office boils down to creating more open spaces than traditionally closed ones. Consider these suggestions to help you manage your workplace better:
- Make sure your workspace can be transformed easily One of the easiest ways I make sure I can transform my office on the fly is via portable desks, sliding doors, and movable wall sections. This can prevent gender bias by increasing visibility, while also ensuring privacy.
- Allow for flexible working arrangements I believe time flexibility greatly boosts employee morale. With flexible working hours and arrangements, employees can manage their work-life balance better and reduce the stressors and invisibility issues they might feel in the workplace. A hybrid work model could be the exact solution you're looking for.
- Design your office around collaboration An open-office layout increases the flow of communication and encourages collaboration, especially for those working in customer service or on projects that require cooperation. I've found that open workspaces also create a sense of inclusivity and allow for an equal playing field, promoting gender equality in the workplace.
How an Automated Solution Can Help You
An automated solution like POC's space management software can help you to optimize your office space. This user-friendly cloud-based solution allows you to customize your office setup and employee seating plans easily. Real-time data and regular reports make it a breeze to determine whether changes to your office space are effective.
■ Want to try it for yourself? Book a demo
We're All Equal Here
Gender bias in the workplace, just like proximity bias, is a serious issue that shouldn't be taken lightly. To create an inclusive and comfortable environment, I urge employers to take employees’ needs and preferences into account. Office customization and layout flexibility can be the first step.
■ Follow these additional office space optimization tips to increase employee satisfaction further
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