How to Create a Disability-Friendly Workplace
Creating a disability-friendly workplace can help to ensure that all of your employees are treated equally. In 2015, it was determined that around 17.5 percent of people with a disability were employed, and one of the ways to further increase this number is to create a disability-friendly workplace. There are numerous ways that businesses can do this, no matter how big or small the company size, and it is of importance when it comes to creating a diverse and welcoming workplace. Here, we’re taking a closer look at all of the different ways that you can create a disability-friendly workplace.
Make Accessibility a Priority
One of the best ways to create a disability-friendly workplace is to make accessibility a priority. Ensure that your employees are able to access the building in their wheelchair or mobility scooter by installing ramps at entries and exits of buildings and cafeterias, have accessible bathrooms, prioritise disability-friendly parking, and install accessible operating buttons in lifts in your home office space or commercial building. By putting all of these factors in place, you are certain to ensure that your workplace is suitable for any employees that you may have that have disabilities.
Make Use of Assistive Technology
Assistive technology can range from hardware to software and is designed to aid those with mobility issues and other health conditions which result in some form of impairment. There is a broad range of specific conditions which can result in potential barriers in the workplace, but by implementing assistive technology and setting up all accessibility features built into computers, tablets and smartphones, you can make the entire work experience much more seamless. Investing in the most appropriate technology, apps and tools will allow employees with disabilities to carry out their job responsibilities without any impediments. Some of the most common examples include colour-coded keyboards, screen reader software, listening devices, speech recognition and more.
Building awareness amongst your other employees is a key factor in creating a disability-friendly workforce. When you build awareness, you are also building empowerment, and for employees with disabilities to experience full integration within the company, it is imperative that all other employees are familiar with the company’s commitment. There are lots of different ways that you can help to build awareness about disability-friendly practices in the workplace for your current employees, such as sensitivity training and etiquette classes. Some employees may find themselves being unconsciously biased towards their colleagues with disabilities, but some form of awareness and training will help to dispel such instances.
Be Honest with Feedback
Some employers may find it difficult to provide feedback to an employee with a disability, in fear of being seen as biased. However, in order to improve inclusion within the workplace, it is imperative to be completely honest and fair at all times. Showing leniency will result in problems being missed, or removing the ability for employees with disabilities to improve and better their performance and work ethic. Having all management levels trained on inclusion is important, and this will ensure that all feedback is consistent across the workforce.