Fidget to Focus: Unlocking Workplace Potential with Inclusive Furniture


Our 2023 Next Work Environment Competition Student Winner, Haley Giroux, expands on elements of her winning submission to discuss Inclusive Furniture through the lens of a young Gen Zer.

In an era that values adaptability and wellbeing, the workplace is constantly evolving toward a more user-centric environment. Prioritizing the wellness of workers in the workplace can help attract employees, improve retention rates, and enhance the quality of work. As companies face the challenge of incentivizing employees to return to the office, the design community is one step ahead in a key design strategy. Inclusive Design ensures that the workplace is both functional and supportive of every individual’s physical and cognitive needs. An inclusive workplace environment helps prioritize wellbeing, empowers employees, and enables the best work. However, achieving an inclusive workplace does not have one universal solution. 

As a soon-to-be graduate, I have one suggestion that may enhance the quality of our inclusive environments. Upon researching active seating for students for a recent K-12 studio project, it was interesting to learn that children had increased attention spans and performed better when fidgeting in class. Studies show that when fidgets are used as a tool, students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, anxiety, or other conditions can relieve stress and enhance focus.

These findings led me to ask the question: What about adults with ADHD?  

Self-regulating as an adult with ADHD, ADD, OCD, or Autism in the workplace is far from normalized. Stagnant office seating has been linked to a lack of productivity, stress, and poor health, like heart disease and diabetes. However, active furniture in the workplace can help relieve anxiety, improve concentration, memory, and physical health, and help adults with ADHD improve their performance at work. Active seating and movement-friendly furniture, for example, ball seats, height-adjustable desks, swings, and rocking chairs, have many physical and cognitive benefits that we are missing out on. 

The ‘fidget factor’ can affect any adult, child, or person with a cognitive disorder. With 20% – 37% of adults with ADHD, movement-friendly furniture may be a solution to prioritizing worker health and enabling the best work. By encouraging movement in a static work environment, we can incentivize the return to the office and harness workers’ full potential. 

So, I ask the design community: Why limit inclusive Design?

Haley also joined the WDM team in rounding up fidget-friendly and mobile minded furniture solutions that are ready for specification now. Enjoy our roundup below.

Willow by KFI Studios

0101 03 Willow Group Laminates revision white background Julie Rooney

No need to be confined to working at traditional desks and cubicles. Willow is a pull-up table, formed from bent plywood, with a C-shaped design that allows you to use it while working on sofas, modular seating, chairs, and benches.

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Rock by Allsteel

Rock by AllsteelDesigned with Motion in Mind: Celebrating fidget behavior, Rock’s unique shape supports an upright posture preferred for work with a rocking base that encourages action and motion.

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BuzziBalance BoardMove your body, move your mind. While standing, BuzziBalance Board becomes a muscle activator. As you balance on the wooden-carved rocking board for a few moments, your mind and body are awakened.

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Basketball by ThinkspaceBasketball is an ergonomic seating furniture that activates the abdominal, side and back muscles. It can help anyone who has back problems and is a good complement to the office chair. PRO TIP: It even returns to center when you get up!

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Passport Herman Miller

Passport (with wheels) combines mobility and adjustability to support an individual’s unique needs to accomplish work in any situation, whether serving as a quick place for touchdown work, offering a surface that can encourage movement throughout the day or even being pulled up for a small group discussion.

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Rokkitt

Rokkitt is an adjustable, pivot and swivel perch providing active, rocking motion. Designed to offer the ideal height active seat to accompany most table and desk heights and perfect for sit-to-stand work areas. PRO TIP: The swivel seat enables rocking motion side to side or front to back.

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Astro by Via Seating

Astro by Via seatingAstro delivers a unique, interactive sitting experience. The comfortable, nest like seat is ideal for some quiet reflection or simply taking some time out. Plus you can even sit criss-cross apple sauce in it. PRO TIP: Play with its rock, swivel and sway motion.

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Wilder RockerWe found this product in the healthcare category! Wilder brings a sense of warmth and sophistication to community spaces, while keeping the rigorous needs of the workplace in mind.

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