Approximately 15% to 20% of people are neurodivergent, a collection of conditions that includes autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.
Linda Trim, director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, says: “Heightened awareness of neurodiversity is leading to a range of more inclusive policies and procedures in the office space the world over.
“Organisations are increasingly making physical and cultural adaptations to create physical work environments that support the full range of employees from neurotypical to neurodivergent.
“Employers are beginning to recognise that, in addition to simply being the right thing to do, accommodating neurodiverse people can provide a significant competitive advantage. Neurodivergent employees often tend to have exceptional capacity for creative problem solving and greater attention to detail.
Creating work spaces that accommodate everyone’s needs can seem overwhelming.
“We recommended several design interventions, from improving acoustics and lighting to introducing access to nature. But one simple, often neglected element employers might want to think about when considering the environment they provide to employees is the colour of the walls.”
Instead of using paint as a decorative or branding element, Trim suggested thinking about its emotional and psychological effect on neurodivergent staff. She cautions against using bright colours and bold artwork in rooms meant for focused work.
“Loud colours can actually be oppressive for workers who tend to get overwhelmed easily.”
A 2016 study in Frontiers in Psychology indicated that yellow is the most fatiguing and most sensory-loaded colour. Researchers said a yellow room can be punishing for people with autism spectrum disorder whose sensitivity to sensory stimulation is already enhanced.
Trim also notes the common corporate decorator instinct of painting surfaces to match a company’s brand colours.
“Colours that work on logos don’t necessarily work in environments. For example, painting walls electric orange, once a very popular branding colour, can make someone agitated or even hungry.”
Trim notes that overstimulated environments are typical of tech headquarters in places like Silicon Valley. “They want you to be there for long hours but they’ve been proven to stress people out. If you’re absolutely compelled to use company colours in interiors, introduce it in small doses, like desk accessories or pillows.”
This doesn’t mean offices have to paint everything in white.
As a general guideline, light greens and blues are the most welcoming colours for workers with sensory issues. Some neurodivergent workers actually need more stimulus too.
“People who are neurodivergent often need areas where they can get their energy out; game rooms aren’t not just fun social spaces. Those are absolutely critical for people who have excess energy. These are areas where companies can safely introduce brightly coloured walls.”
There are easy ways to boost worker productivity that won’t break the bank or take up much office time.
Adding plants, art and colour to workplaces are proven ‘quick fixes’ to make offices better work places for employees while driving sharp rises in worker productivity.
Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap, workplace specialists who consult across Africa, says that research showed that making sure offices had these elements typically boosted productivity by 25 to 30%.
“The recent trend to creating sanitised, Spartan, uncluttered offices, simply do not make people more productive. The lean, pared down office is not best for concentration or worker comfort despite the zeitgeist thinking that no distractions means greater concentration.
“A green office says to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare. Adding plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”
Another factor that made offices better places to work was the right use of colour.
“Bland grey, beige and white offices induce feelings of sadness and depression while purple and orange workspaces also contribute to feelings of gloominess.”
Trim noted that scientific studies have shown that colours don’t just change our moods, they also profoundly impact productivity for better and for worse.
“That’s why it’s best to decorate your workplace with a vibrant mix of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.
“Restful green and calming blue improve efficiency and focus. They also create an overall sense of well-being.”
Trim says that red was a particularly alarming colour for the workplace and should only be used to draw employees attentions to something. Yellow should be added to places where creativity is a demand of the job and can complement the greens and blues.
A third factor that has proven to enhance productivity was art.
“An enriched space makes people feel much happier and work better and a very good way of doing this is by using art.
“This doesn’t mean dreadful ‘motivational posters’, which say things like “there is no I in team” or ‘whatever the problem, be part of the solution’, because these don’t work at all.
“Art doesn’t make every person who looks at it inherently more creative but it gets them involved on a more intellectual level.
“Aesthetic in the truest sense means energy-giving which is what a workplace needs, rather than a bland, industrial environment which can be more like giving workers a dose of sleeping pills,” says Trim.
She notes that a study by Dr Craig Knight who studied the psychology of working environments for 12 years at the University of Exeter. He showed that they had never found that lean offices created better results and the more involved people were in the enrichment process, the more they are able to realise a part of themselves in the space.
“People spend most of their lives at work and being in an office can become very routine. But if they are surrounded by plants, judicious use of colour and pleasing art it can create a work environment with a sense of intrigue and engagement, “ Trim adds.
Another advantage of good workplaces was that it help retain staff and reduced the amount of sick leave people took.
Providing an exciting new dimension to creative design and products, Drive Control Corporation (DCC) has announced the immediate availability of OKI’s Pro6410 NeonColor printer that allows for the printing of super-bright fluorescent design on transfer media for use on almost anything.
The Pro6410 NeonColor printer liberates graphic design from the limits of the standard CMY (cyan, magenta and yellow) colour spectrum; print houses and graphic arts departments can therefore create fluorescent effects on either black or white backgrounds. Furthermore, with OKI’s neon white toner, they can add a security mark, only visible under UV black light.
Says Heinrich Pretorius, OKI product specialist at Drive Control Corporation (DCC): “The versatility of the Pro6410 NeonColor and its vibrant colour spectrum means businesses can now provide product and service development in garment and product decoration, personalisation, packaging and proofing, point-of-sale and in-store signage and education.
“The NeonColor undoubtedly underscores OKI’s continuous commitment to the channel, opening up new, practical, revenue-generating opportunities for customers.”
The Pro6410 NeonColor offers A4 media versatility on weights of up to 250gsm (grams per square metre) and banner lengths of up to 1320mm.
Additional Pro6410 NeonColor product specifications and features include:
• Colour speed: 8ppm (transparency mode), 34ppm (plain paper);
• Resolution: 1200x600dpi;
• Time to first page: 9 seconds;
• Toner life (colour/white): 6,000/4,000 pages;
• Max paper weight: 220gsm Tray, 250gsm MPT (multipurpose tray);
• Max paper size: A4;
• Processor speed: 533Mhz;
• Paper input: (Main Tray + MPT): 300 + 100;
• Language: PS3; and
• Dimensions (HxWxD): 340 x 435 x 546mm.
Lexmark has announced the arrival in South Africa of its next generation A4 colour lasers and smart MFPs featuring seven new series.
“Many of the new colour laser devices in this series deliver one of the highest toner capacities in their class and industry-leading long life imaging components, resulting in fewer user interventions and Lexmark’s best-ever colour total cost of ownership,” says Nathan Nayagar, MD for Lexmark – South Africa & English Speaking Africa.
Lexmark’s new A4 colour smart MFPs address a continuing rise in MFP activity in both the enterprise and SME sectors – the A4 color MFP segment is the fastest growing market segment in the print and imaging industry.
“This Lexmark-created, game-changing technology brings together the best of A3 and A4 technology in a new way, designed to optimise for managed print services and business process solutions,” says Nayagar.
Driven by a powerful quad core processor, these models boast among the fastest print and copy speeds available in their respective A4 classes.
The products featured in the new line include: Lexmark CS720, CS725 and CS820 Series Printers, Lexmark CX725, CX820, CX825, CX860 Series MFPs.
Lexmark’s champion offering, the CX860, offers one of the highest toner capacity, the largest input/output capacity and the most flexible media support of any A4 color laser MFP. The CX860 is so advanced it rivals the capabilities of A3 products, enabling businesses to bring colour production in-house.
Each new device supports Kofax TotalAgility from Lexmark, enhancing the omnichannel capture strategy and helping businesses become more efficient.
Lexmark is changing the customer experience through introduction of a new tablet-like interface, providing outstanding ease of use. The new MFPs also are complete with productivity enhancing solutions such as the new unified Scan Center app. The app means users can scan a paper document once and route the digital image file to multiple destinations simultaneously such as e-mail addresses, network folders, FTP sites, fax machines, electronic document archives or other secure network locations, plus optional delivery confirmation.
Next generation innovations
- A powerful quad core processor – these models boast among the fastest print and copy speeds available in their respective A4 classes
- A completely redesigned Android user interface that brings very familiar mobile device qualities and characteristics to the smart MFP
- High-powered document scanning capabilities to increase the speed and accuracy of information capture and routing
- An enhanced mobile device printing experience
- Robust, enhanced security tools that IT professionals will find familiar and reassuring
- New generation Unison core/shell toner has lower friction and works at lower temperatures, saving energy – dropping energy consumption by a third!
- New photo conductors and drums using long-life components which means less maintenance and calls to the client
Imagine being able to draw or write with any colour in the world, and not just the colour(s) of the ink that come with your pen.
Say hello to the Scribble Pen, a smart pen with a special ink cartridge and scanner that can replicate any colour.
Billed as the “last pen you’ll ever have to buy”, the Scribble Pen promises to let you “scan” colours simply by touching the RGB colour sensor built into the top of the pen onto a coloured object.
Want to doodle with an exact shade of red from a rose? Touch the pen’s scanner to its petals. Must colour your BB-8 drawing with the right orange? Just touch the Scribble Pen to a BB-8 toy and get colouring. Itching to make a poop emoji masterpiece for your loved one? Go ahead and scan that turd you just squeezed out. OK, maybe don’t do that, but you get the idea.
The pen’s smart ink cartridge “connects to a smart micro pump that recreates the colour you have scanned”. According to the product’s Web site, the ink is water-resistant and won’t ever fade. We have no idea how long the ink will last, only that you’ll be able to “write for miles with each generous, affordable ink cartridge”.
The Scribble Pen comes with three tips for different stroke weights.
You can also connect the pen to smartphones and tablets running iOS 7 (and higher) and Android 4.0 (and higher) to save the colours that you’ve scanned.
Battery life for the pen is said to last up to seven hours on a single charge. The pen charges with a standard Micro USB cable.
The Scribble Pen is currently available for pre-order for $249. There’s also a $119 version called the Scribble Pen Stylus that only works with tablets and doesn’t contain the smart ink cartridge. A combo paper and tablet version of the Scribble sells for $300. All three pens are available in your choice of five different colours: black, white, silver, blue or green.
Before you hit that pre-order button, you should maybe know one thing: The pen may be too good to be true. Before you hit that pre-order button, you should maybe know one thing: The pen may be too good to be true.
The Scribble Pen launched as a Kickstarter project in 2014 and received $366 566 after asking for $100 000. The project, however, was cancelled by Kickstarter after Scribble (the company) failed to show details on how the pen worked and produce a working prototype; backers were never refunded. Scribble then moved the project to Tilt, another crowdfunding Web site, and after raising $227,540, it also was cancelled, but backers were reportedly refunded.
After two failed crowdfunding campaigns, the company’s now selling the pens directly to customers on its Web site. How well do the Scribble Pens even work? Who really knows.
By Raymond Wong for www.mashable.com