In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to create workplaces that are inclusive for employees with disabilities – everyone should be welcome at work.
As always, the best person to tell you exactly what they need is the person who requires the adjustments. But being proactive in your workplace can attract more candidates with disabilities to your company, as they can see your willingness to be open minded. This can widen your talent pool, and make your company a better place to work.
If you’re yet to get started on your accessibility journey, there are some general steps you can take to make your workplace disability-friendly. Here, we take a look at four ideas to get you started.
There are many types of disabilities, which can be divided into three categories:
- Physical disabilities. These can make it difficult or impossible for a person to move around independently.
- Mental disabilities. These can affect a person’s ability to think clearly or process information.
- Developmental disabilities. These can impede a person’s ability to develop physically, emotionally, or socially.
Each type of disability presents its own challenges, but all disabled people deserve to be respected and treated with compassion. It’s important to remember that no one expects you to be an expert, so don’t be afraid to ask what your new employee needs. By learning about the various types of disabilities, you can help create a more inclusive and understanding world for everyone.
Acknowledge your own biases
We all have biases. Some of them may be based on our personal experiences, while others may be the result of cultural influences or even just our own tendencies. Whatever the source, it’s important that we work to educate ourselves and correct them. When we don’t, they can lead us to make inaccurate assumptions and judgments about others.
So how can we become more aware of our biases? To start, we can pay active attention to the language we use when talking about or thinking about others. We can also try to take a step back and examine our assumptions and beliefs with a critical eye, and correct where necessary.
Make your workplace physically accessible
There are a number of things you can do to make your workplace more accessible, but one of the most important is to ensure that there are no physical barriers preventing people from moving around freely. This means providing wide corridors and doorways, and ensuring that there are no steps or other obstacles that could impede someone’s ability to move about the office.
In addition, it’s important to provide adequate lighting and signage so that people with visual impairments can navigate your workplace safely and easily. By taking these simple steps, you can go a long way towards making your workplace more accessible for everyone.
Become an advocate
Flexible working and a rise in general awareness is making it easier for people with disabilities to join the workforce. However, they still face significant barriers to full inclusion.
By being an advocate for employees with disabilities, you can help other companies identify the areas where they can be better, and you can learn too. Within your company, you can raise awareness about the importance of accommodation and accessibility for employees with disabilities across all teams. You can also work to ensure that your company’s policies and practices are welcoming and inclusive.
Outside of your company, you can be an ambassador for change by speaking out about the need for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace, or giving your disabled employees the support to speak. You can also connect with other advocates and organisations.
To sum up
As we have seen, there are many ways to create an inclusive workplace for employees with disabilities. By following these four simple steps, your business can become more disability-friendly and open up new opportunities for employees who may have been struggling to find a job in the past.
Thanks to Six Degrees Media, who wrote and originally published this article.