Sunday, April 14, 2024

Woolworths’ ‘quiet hour’ lessens anxiety and sensory stress

More than 260 Woolworths’ stores across Australia will now offer the low-sensory ‘quiet hour to customers’ following a successful trial period in NSW and the ACT.

The program is designed to reduce anxiety and sensory stress for customers with specific needs, including autism, by providing a quieter and less stimulating environment in store.

Autism Spectrum Australia estimates more than 300,000 (or 1 in 70) Australians are on the autism spectrum.

Stores will lower lights, turn down music and radio, and turn off oven buzzers for an hour every Tuesday between 10:30am and 11:30am.

Woolworths Business Support Manager for Administration and Service Ian Murphy says quiet hour followed word from customers that there’s a community need for a low sensory shopping experience.

Quiet hour developed in consultation with Life Without Barriers

The low sensory initiative was developed in consultation with disability service providers at Life Without Barriers.

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs said: “Quiet hour is a fantastic accessibility initiative by Woolworths that recognises that people have different accessibility needs.”

Changes during quiet hour

During quiet hour, customers will also notice the following changes:

  • Reducing volume on store phones and registers on the trading floor;
  • Roll cages will be removed from the shop floor; and
  • No PA announcements (excluding in case of emergencies).

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