Accessibility in the Workplace: 5 Ways to Foster Inclusivity and Embrace Disability

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Uncategorized

There is accessibility in the workplace and it is safe for employees with physical disabilities – that is, if we lived in a perfect world.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

Businesses need to take steps to ensure their workspaces are accessible to all types of employees, regardless of any physical disabilities they may have. People with physical disabilities often face barriers to getting hired or having equal access to the workplace. 

It’s up to business leaders and employers like you to make sure that they have accessibility in the workplace and that it is welcoming and inclusive.

An accessible workplace for persons with disabilities

Here are five simple ways to create accessibility in the workplace where everyone can thrive:

1. Provide Accommodations for Employees with Physical Disabilities

Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Accommodations such as flexible work schedules or modified job duties can help ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities regardless of their disability. 

For example, you may want to consider allowing employees with physical disabilities extra time off or modified work hours so they can attend medical appointments or take care of personal needs that are related to their disability. 

In addition to this, employers should also consider accessible entryways & exits. If your building or office space has multiple floors, make sure there is a wheelchair-accessible elevator or stair lift available so that employees with physical disabilities can move easily between floors. 

2. Invest in Assistive Technology, Furniture, and Fixtures

I know what you’re thinking – assistive tech? Aren’t those expensive? Not necessarily. Assistive technology such as voice recognition software, text magnifiers, and more are examples of assistive tech. In addition to this, adjustable desks, and ergonomic furniture such as ergonomic chairs and anti-fatigue mats make it easier for people with physical disabilities to use computers and other equipment. 

Such technology also enables them to do more tasks independently, allowing them to be more productive in the workplace, and further creating accessibility in the workplace. So to go back to the initial question, no. Assistive tech is not expensive. In fact, investing in assistive technology is a cost-effective way of creating an inclusive and accessible workspace for people with physical disabilities. 

3. Training the Staff

As indicated in this Forbes article, any DEI efforts without the buy-in of your employees can be difficult to execute. This is why training your staff on disability etiquette helps ensure that everyone is committed to treating their colleagues with equal respect and dignity in the workplace. 

Provide training on how best to interact with and support employees with physical disabilities and what accommodations may be necessary for them and this initiative will surely help foster a culture of inclusion among all members of your staff. 

4. Create Accessible Spaces

Make sure that your office space is wheelchair accessible by ensuring there are alternatives to steps leading up into the building or providing wider doorways to avoid entry wats that impede those using wheelchairs or mobility aids. 

Even small things such as doorknobs should be considered in designing office spaces. The right doorknob can provide independence and inclusivity.

In addition to this, there should be dedicated bathrooms that are equipped with grab bars, wide doors, and accessible sinks for those who need them. 

5. Promote Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

Promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives is a great way to make sure all employees feel welcome in the workplace regardless of any physical limitations they may have. 

Encourage your staff members to participate in activities that promote tolerance, understanding, and acceptance of differences within the organization. This will help create an environment where employees feel free to express themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination based on their ability. 

By taking these steps toward creating an inclusive workspace for employees with physical disabilities, you can ensure that everyone feels comfortable and respected in your organization regardless of their abilities or limitations. 

A welcoming workplace fosters productivity while promoting diversity and acceptance—so it’s worth investing time into making sure yours meets those standards!

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