Ikea And Steps Collaborate To Design An Office Model That Is More Accessible To People Of Different Abilities And Needs

By Chong Seow Wei

The partnership between the furniture retail giant and the community organisation will yield more diverse and inclusive workplace designs

Tatler Asia
Cover  Steps' Max Simpson with Ikea Thailand's Waranthorn Tachakunakorn (Photo: Steps)

Ikea is collaborating with Bangkok-based community organisation Steps to use design and furniture to create more accessible work environments for people of different abilities.

Co-founded by Max Simpson, Steps is built on the mission to create an inclusive society by empowering people of different abilities. It trains young adults, some of who are neurodivergent, with technical and soft skills to improve their employability. 

For Simpson, the goal of the collaboration is “to empower organisations to use our inclusive office model in their own environments”.

The model has been applied to a 100 sqm room, which can be adapted to fit a variety of spaces and accommodate up to 25 employees. 

Its design is also guided by five key elements to boost workplace comfort and workforce productivity: Create zones for different activities, provide a variety of options for lighting, seating and desks that employees can choose from, and organise and adapt workspaces that support the latest workflows and needs of employees. 

“We are proud to be part of this program as we are aware of the potential of neurodivergent people, including those with autism. They all have the ability to work and live effectively,” says Waranthorn Tachakunakorn, inspiration and communications manager of Ikea Thailand. “We, therefore, have to design a work environment and accommodations that incorporate the diversity and differences of users.”

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