Johnson Controls Champions Neurodiversity in Cork Headquarters with Inclusivity Initiative

Johnson Controls recently announced an inclusivity initiative in its Cork headquarters, designed to champion neurodiversity within its work environment. Through the efforts of a local Business Resource Group (BRG), a Cork-based Occupational Therapist, and with the support of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) team, Johnson Controls, Cork has worked for over a year to create spaces where all employees, including those who are neurodiverse, can excel.
"We believe in the power of an inclusive environment that champions neurodiversity, fostering innovation and collaboration among all employees." Eamonn Hughes, Vice President and General Manager, Johnson Controls, Ireland.
The initiative stems from a 2023 survey of Johnson Controls employees, which advocates for employees with a disability, and their allies.
The survey was a pulse check and significantly, the survey results emphasized the need to openly acknowledge and address neurodiversity.
Guided by these findings, a specialist Occupational Therapist, Gina Evans, was invited to examine the work environment at One Albert Quay, Cork. She ultimately recommended inclusivity-based changes in a report titled, Workplace Neurodiversity: Inclusive Design. Based on the Occupational Therapist’s recommendations, work started on three areas with a quiet, work and eating focus.

1. Quiet Zone: A dedicated quiet room was repainted, had adjusted lighting, with a choice of fidget tools and furniture with tilt/rock movement. Signage was added to the door, to show it was free or engaged. A second dedicated quiet space was created in the outside terrace. A cabin located outside on the fifth floor was decorated with calming artwork and soft furnishings and fidget tools. Wifi, power cables and sockets are all operational in this cabin.  With the help of the Global Sustainability Network BRG, the external terrace was populated with specially chosen plants and trellis to promote sensory safety.

2. Work Zone: A dedicated space was created for quiet, private work, where existing furniture and equipment was removed, standing desks were installed, and the wall was painted a neutral colour. Dimmable lighting was installed, plants placed around the area, flexible partitions installed, and fidget tools and noise-cancelling headphones are available at this space. 

3. Eating Zone: A dedicated space for private eating. Partitions were installed at the rear of canteen to ensure privacy when eating. 

A key component of the initiative involves Gina Evans, an Occupational Therapist (OT), who has assessed the workspace and provided recommendations for enhanced inclusivity in a dedicated report.
“These changes contribute to a more welcoming and productive environment for all employees,” explains Gina. I applaud Johnson Controls, because it’s certainly unusual for businesses to be undertaking these changes.”