H&R Block Unveils a Sensory Room for Associates at its Corporate Headquarters in Honor of Autism Awareness Month
The space includes a calming sound machine, sensory fidgets, and dim lighting to assist with overstimulation, and more
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (April 20, 2023) – H&R Block is celebrating the opening of a sensory room at the company’s Kansas City headquarters. The new room provides a space for associates to check in and acknowledge their mental health and well-being throughout the workday. This effort represents the company’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging, where every voice is heard and associates feel safe, included, and inspired. And this significant moment, sponsored by the Neurodiversity at Block Belonging group, occurred during Autism Awareness Month.
Sensory rooms are safe, quiet places that can help adults reduce stress and overstimulation and improve creativity and focus. The carefully curated sensory room at H&R Block includes a calming sound machine, a tranquil environment, bean bags, sensory fidgets, and dim lighting.
“Although sensory rooms are not a new concept, they aren’t common for adults, especially in workplaces,” said Tiffany Monroe, Chief People and Culture Officer at H&R Block. “Our associates are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, and a big part of that means creating a sense of belonging and proactively making meaningful changes to truly be a great place to work. We are excited about the new sensory room and really hope our associates enjoy it.”
The term neurodiversity refers to variations in the brain regarding learning, sociability, attention, mood, and other brain functions. With an estimated 15% to 20% of the population being neurodivergent, according to National Library of Medicine, H&R Block is proud to help reduce stigmas and create a work environment where associates feel safe. And the need is further underscored by research that shows unemployment for neurodivergent adults running as high as 30-40%, three times the rate for people with disability, and eight times the rate for people without disability, according to the Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation at the University of Connecticut.
H&R Block’s sensory room idea originated from three associates with neurodivergent children who also founded the Neurodiversity at Block Belonging group. This Belonging group stewards sharing, learning, and growth for associates affected by neurodiversity. Their goal is to celebrate and support neurodiversity in all forms and journeys – including neurodivergent associates and people leaders, as well as associates supporting neurodivergent loved ones, and more. While the room was created by the neurodiversity Belonging group, it will serve all Block associates.
“Because of my son, I have a passion for neurodiversity and supporting our associates who are touched by it,” said Lindsey Lanzisero, Vice President of Total Rewards, H&R Systems & Operations at H&R Block, and Executive Sponsor & Co-Founder of the Neurodiversity at Block Belonging group. “We want this group to help associates succeed, and help managers lead neurodivergent associates with empathy, while providing a community for neurodiverse associates and caregivers. This room, and the awareness we’re bringing to the matter, will positively impact our culture and associates, and that’s exciting.”
As a recent Forbes “America’s Best Large Employers” honoree, H&R Block launched Belonging@Block in 2020 to build a culture in which every associate has a voice and sense of belonging. Additional Belonging groups include H&R Block Young Professionals Network, H&R Block Women’s Network, Veteran’s Belonging Group at H&R Block, COLORS at H&R Block (Community Organizing for LGBTQ+ Opportunity, Resources, and Support) and Elevate at H&R Block, a resource to elevate, improve, and champion the professional development of Black associates and advance cultural awareness.
To learn more about H&R Block’s Connected Culture and commitment to belonging, click here.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) provides help and inspires confidence in its clients and communities everywhere through global tax preparation services, financial products, and small business solutions. The company blends digital innovation with human expertise and care as it helps people get the best outcome at tax time and also be better with money using its mobile banking app, Spruce. Through Block Advisors and Wave, the company helps small-business owners thrive with innovative products like Wave Money, a mobile-first, small-business bank account and bookkeeping solution, that manages bookkeeping automatically. For more information, visit H&R Block News.
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