Offices aren’t always built practically even for those that are able-bodied, let alone for those that have a disability. This is problematic, as you will need to make your office as accessible as possible for those with a wide range of disabilities, so that you can accommodate to all and benefit from a diverse workforce. Read on to find out how you can go about doing this.
Easy Access In & Out
A good place to start is by making sure that the building itself is both easy to enter and exit for those with a physical disability. Ramps, lifts and automatic doors are all ways that you can make the building more accessible for all. The Equality Act 2010 states that changes or adjustments should be made to ensure access, so you will need to make changes if your building currently is difficult to access for those with a disability.
You will also need to have toilets which are usable by those with a disability and many businesses have a disabled toilet which will have supports, alarms and space for people to use the toilet comfortably. Additionally, you should think about the distance that an employee would have to travel to reach this toilet and try to make sure that it is within a short distance, so that they can quickly and easily access the toilet throughout the day.
You can then start to focus on the actual office space and consider ways that you can help individuals with a disability to work comfortably, safely and with confidence. Lower work surfaces, lower handle placement on doors/automatic doors, desks that are well spaced out, cable management systems and equipment for those with hearing and vision impairments are a few of the reasonable adjustments that could be made. It doesn’t have to be a physical adjustment – or even a physical or visible disability, for workers who have a mental health related disability, think about adjusting tasks, hours and workloads to ease pressure if needed. For those with photosensitive epilepsy, ask where in the office would be most comfortable light-wise for them to work. Workers with a learning difficulty, such as Downs Syndrome often exceed expectations at work when their co-workers have undergone training.
If your business uses a car regularly then you may also want to think about what you can do to make this more accessible. Wheelchair accessible vehicles from somewhere like Allied Mobility can be a smart solution and will allow you to easily, comfortably and safely transport a member of staff that requires the use of a wheelchair.
Technology can be of huge assistance in making a business more accessible for someone with a disability. This includes things like assistive listening devices, speech recognition and sign language apps, refreshable braille displays and colour-coded keyboards, just to name a few which are worth investing in.
These are a few of the most effective ways that you can make your business more accessible to those that have a disability. In addition to abiding by the 2010 Equality Act, this is also worthwhile, because it allows you to build a diverse workforce and enjoy all the benefits that this can bring.