Let’s talk about accessibility basics. Here’s what you need to do to make sure your office is completely accessible to everybody. When it comes to diversity, it’s often easy to limit the definition to include categories like gender, race, and sexual orientation. However, diversity also extends to include individuals with different abilities. In many instances, creating an accessible workplace for people with disabilities is essential—yet often overlooked by many companies.
So what can you do to ensure that your workplace is accessible? You can start by taking a moment to consider the needs of your employees. Organizations that have a truly diverse team of individuals working together for the good of the company often find impressive benefits.
Start with the Basics
At the end of the day, the goal is for your workplace is to be as accessible as possible to absolutely everyone. Although it’s a great strategy, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. For disabled employees to be fully integrated into the organization, sensitivity and awareness programs can be an important step. For able-bodied employees, providing the opportunity to gain additional insight and awareness can be very helpful.
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are either employees or applicants for employment. Consider current and future team members who might need additional support, whether that be a visual impairment or the presence of a service dog.
By making small additions, such as the following, you can better provide for your staff and for people who visit your office:
Provide screen reader technologies
Include braille signage
Install textured floor mats to distinguish areas of the office to improve navigation accessibility
Technology to Support Accessibility
Assistive technologies have enabled many disabled people to become an active part of the workplace environment. Most modern jobs today require the use of computers—with the right assistive technology, apps, and tools, many disabled employees are able to perform their jobs without major challenges.
Common technology might include color-coded keyboards, listening devices, speech recognition and sign language apps, refreshable Braille displays, and much more. For disabled employees, make sure that your company provides regular updates and training on the software and technology advancements. Keeping your disabled employees up to speed on the newest technology is critical to their success and productivity in the workplace.
Ask for Help
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, there are a variety of organizations that specialize in assisting companies. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or even rely on your employees who have disabilities to provide you with information on what can be improved in your office.
In the end, creating an accessible workplace requires mindful listening to the needs of your employees and making the necessary changes to ensure that their experience is as comfortable as possible.
Connect with the industry’s most experienced team to learn more about creating an accessible workplace!