People with disabilities (PWD) are less likely to be employed compared to those without disabilities. Most of them depend on government support to cover their basic living necessities. One thing contributing to the low employment rate of people with disabilities is the common misconception that they cannot contribute to the workplace.
If you want an inclusive workplace, you must improve accessibility to encourage everyone, even those with disabilities, to work with you. Read on and learn how you can develop accessibility and promote inclusivity at work.
Take Advantage of Assistive Technology
One easy way to improve accessibility at work is to remove physical barriers. To help in this effort, you can have parking spaces reserved for PWD.
To help people with movement disabilities, you should have doorways and entrances that are easily accessible to wheelchairs or staircase chair.
Using assistive technology is also crucial if you want to make your office more accessible and inclusive. These solutions can help people with visual or hearing impairments. It can include:
- Devices with speech recognition
- Color-coded keyboards
- Braille keyboards or displays
- Screen reader solutions
- Sign language applications
- Assistive listening devices
Ensuring your employees have access to the fundamental tools they need to do their jobs lets them carry out their tasks without any issues.
Invest in Training Your Employees
Making a more accessible workplace does not stop at office modifications. Keep in mind that it is equally as crucial to foster an inclusive atmosphere by encouraging your employees to support your efforts.
Specifically, this means giving adequate training so the staff members know what they can do to create and contribute to a healthy working environment for anyone. The program must be part of your inclusive hiring and employee onboarding process, where you can discuss best office practices, such as:
- Chairs must be pushed in under tables when meetings are over in conference rooms. This way, people with movement disabilities can navigate the space easier.
- During presentations, you must reserve the front seats for employees with hearing impairment.
- Send out presentation slides ahead of meetings, so people have time to understand the information. Doing so can be particularly useful if you work with someone who relies on a screen reader.
Make Inclusive Company Policies
Remember that a genuine disability-friendly environment is built from the inside out. While awareness and education are essential tactics, it is even more crucial to ensure your inclusion and diversity policies specifically discuss disabilities.
Make sure that your employee handbook addresses discrimination against people with disabilities. You must eliminate conscious and unconscious biases by giving everyone equal opportunities to participate in ongoing discussions.
Do not hesitate to request your staff to identify problem areas and find areas to improve in your current culture of inclusion. Make sure your business celebrates inclusion and does not leave disability out of its conversations about diversity.
Develop a Less Stressful Workplace
It is no secret that work can be a very stimulating experience. Some people may even find their work stressful.
This problem may cause hardship for people experiencing mental health issues. Many modern companies have acknowledged this concern and have introduced meditation programs to help employees:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Ease anxiety and depression symptoms
- Realign their mind and body
Changing your workplace to be more accessible for people with disabilities can come with a lot of benefits. So make it known that your company values inclusivity and diversity today.