Improving work access for employees with disabilities
Ensuring that your workplace is accessible and inclusive for all employees, regardless of disability, is an important part of running a business. It increases diversity amongst the workforce, as well as contributing towards improving employee safety, retention and productivity.
Given the wide range of benefits that an accessibility friendly workplace can bring, it’s plain to see how and why it is important to take this seriously and put measures in place to improve access. This article will provide some key tips on how to ensure that your workplace is accessibility friendly.
Flexible working hours and arrangements
Being flexible with working hours as well as providing the option to work remotely could create many opportunities for employees with disabilities to devise a schedule that works for them. The more flexible you can be, the more prospective employees you can attract and retain.
Being able to work remotely for part of the week rather than going into the office every day can be very beneficial for some people with disabilities, for whom going into the office every day may be too demanding. This helps to look after employee health and well-being.
Office modifications for the visually impaired
There are some small and straight forward changes that can be made to help accommodate the visually impaired around the office. Having differently coloured or textured floor mats can help someone who is partially sighted recognise different areas of the office. Braille signage is another good alternative. You also may need to be prepared to make arrangements to accommodate a guide dog or another visual aid.
Ensuring online systems are accessibility friendly
Web accessibility has become an increasingly important issue now that more and more is being done online, and as our reliance on computers and the digital world steadily increases. This means that all online systems in your workplace should be made accessible for individuals across the whole spectrum of potential disabilities. This includes audio-visual impairments, neurological issues, speech impairments, motor skill impairments and cognitive impairments and dementia. This also includes people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD or ADD.
Providing alternative access methods that cater for all
Alternative access methods need to be provided to ensure that all websites and online systems necessary to the job can be accessed by all. Some important considerations include ensuring full keyboard navigation, as some people with motor skill impairments will struggle to use a mouse. Making sure all systems are compatible with screen reader technology for the visually impaired, as well as providing alternative text to all images and icons. And captioning all video and audio content for the hearing impaired, as well as providing transcripts.
Creating an inclusive atmosphere
Making your workplace accessible to employees with disabilities is more than just making the relevant adaptations. It’s also important to foster an inclusive environment and atmosphere by investing in employee education and training as well. This way, all employees can be aware of the different things that they can do to contribute towards creating an environment that is safe and accessible and works for everyone.
Author: Sally Diamond
Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her.