Translating the relationship between inclusion and workplaces

Contextual Research

With Fidelidade


Guide Fidelidade in the definition and development of inclusive workplaces, designing them to integrate all Fidelidade’s people today and in the future.


Guidelines to build an inclusive workplace at Fidelidade’s new headquarters.

Contextual Research
9 weeks
Strategy, Research, Inclusion, Architecture
Ana Matias, Ana Oliveira, Rita Pureza, Henrique Nascimento,

Illa Branco

Ana Montag (Toyno Studio)


Mariana Cardoso (Toyno Studio)


Roberta Mansur (Toyno Studio)


The way societies have evolved impacts organizations and organizations. On the other hand, organizations also have a fundamental role in the evolution of the society in which they operate.

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a surge of a renewed consciousness about the importance of having more diverse and inclusive workplaces. However, only a few companies have been prominent in leading this change. Our goal was to help Fidelidade position itself as a change-enabler in the near future.


Become experts in Inclusion, in order to be the best possible advisors to Fidelidade, providing them thorough guidelines to follow.


Research: deep-diving into the theme of Inclusion through insights, cases, tools, further reading, and interviews.


Analysis: creating a framework that can be applied in any space.


Consultancy: continuous follow-up and guidance to the client and its partners in this project.


Provide guidelines about Inclusion in the workplace, considering and covering all possible themes.


Combining the perspectives of architects, designers, and strategists, we tried to comprehend the immense field of Inclusion and Diversity.

Find relations between inclusion and space, going through cases, tools and guidelines.

Alignment of customer’s goals and needs and definition of priority themes. This even included a virtual tour of the headquarters in order to access the particular space in question.

Close monitoring of the project’s phase progress in real-time, providing advice and suggestions for architectural design.

Compilation of foreign references about Inclusion applied in the architecture of cities, public and private spaces in different sectors.

Understand and empathize with the context of those who suffer most from exclusion in society. We talked to people representing causes within the Portuguese gypsy community, racism and racial exclusion, physical accessibility, gender equality, and diversity and inclusion in organizations.


Days of desk research


Meetings with stakeholders


Co-creation sessions


Coolhunting abroad


Virtual tour to the headquarters


In-depth interviews

Photo taken by the team during a Coolhunting in the Netherlands. Location: Het Nieuwe Insituut, Rotterdam


Definition of six macro themes — physical and mental; culture; ethnicity; social; identity; organizational dynamics) plus 14 micro themes — neurodiversity; physical and sensory; beliefs; rituals; language; background; age and generations; convictions; appearance; personality, gender and sexual orientation; personal values; community; hierarchical values. These are a good starting point, especially in organizational contexts. However, an inclusive workplace must consider other themes, and not only the ones we researched and discussed in-depth during the project. It’s a forever work in progress where we all have a role to play and where it’s crucial to rely on empathy.

  • 51 case studies gathered, with projects that somehow include the themes we mapped, serving as practical inspiration;
  • 168 guidelines and in-depth themes: physical and sensory, neurodiversity, language, age and generations, gender and sexual orientation, and hierarchical levels;
  • 17 tools compiled from in-depth research. These can leverage the design and implementation of an inclusive space;
  • Curatorship of 55 scientific and non-scientific bibliographic references materials.

Aggregating formula

Through the research of the themes, we understood that their connection translates into values for an inclusive workplace. Thus, we designed a tailored approach that can be adapted every time we talk about workspaces, grounded on three principles:


A safe environment has the capacity and function to allow different dynamics to occur, creating security and comfort for those present in the space.


Spaces that remove physical and metaphysical obstacles encourage those who inhabit them to nurture their individuality in communion with others. When we have spaces free from barriers, its navigation becomes intuitive.


They are equitable places where all people are at the same level, where all people are individual and collective.

These values, when combined, create the necessary context to make an inclusive space. This dynamic amplifies everyone’s strengths while remaining in constant motion. Each value, when connected to another, generates positive forces between themselves. However, when the link between two values is broken, they all fail as they create a chain reaction.

A space that is transparent, safe and aggregator is a space that moves towards inclusion.


  • To become an inclusive workplace is an ongoing process, and no one has got there (yet). It's ok not knowing something as long as we remain open-minded, conscious, and willing to improve.
  • Every solution demands prototyping and iteration. Involving real users before the final version sets the success criteria and makes room for feedback and adjustments.
  • We are diverse therefore there will never exist a one-size-fits-all solution for Inclusion. It's a matter of embracing flexibility and offering adjustable options - different usabilities, designs, tools, languages, and so on.
  • On a scale from 0 to 10, we deny the 0 and do our best, aiming to reach 10. Our commitment is to make everyone understand why something is not tolerated and how to overcome it through education and support.

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