3 Ways to Make an Office More Accessible
A workplace benefits from a diverse team because different experiences and backgrounds can provide new ideas, optimized processes, and more inclusivity.
The meaning of ‘diversity’ may vary for different individuals. It’s important to consider the fact that diversity is not confined to race, sexual orientation, and gender.
The meaning of true diversity stretches far beyond these classifications. Still, while planning their diversity strategies, employers tend to overlook people with disabilities. This results in an inaccessible workplace for such individuals.
(Fact check!) People with disabilities are self-competent
A majority of employers remain unaware of the fact that people with disabilities are self-sufficient in their daily activities and entertainment choices. For example, disabled individuals use assistive technologies to browse the internet and do other tasks. Although not all individuals with disabilities may be accustomed to this technology, it does not mean that they are incapable of using it or filling another company role.
A study conducted by leading management consulting firm Accenture stated that companies excelling in disability incorporation surpassed their competitors. To display the facts, between 2015 and 2018, such organizations featured around 28% higher revenues, doubled net income, and generated 30% greater profit margins.
While it is evident that a diverse team brings in a genuinely productive workplace, employers must recognize a crucial aspect regarding this — inclusion.
1. Employ assistive technology
Integrating assistive technology is one of the ways to ensure that the workplace is accessible and inclusive. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, every employer is responsible for offering reasonable accommodations to all disabled employees and applicants.
Remember that even small contributions from your side can make a huge difference. You can employ assistive technology, which includes:
- - Speech recognition software and devices
- - Braille displays or keyboards
- - Keyboards with color-codes
- - Assistive listening devices
- - Applications of sign language
Make sure all your employees have access to these basic facilities that will help them in being productive.
2. Take feedback from employees and experts
A great way to determine if your business or workplace is truly accessible for employees and customers is through coordinating an audit and seeking the information of accessibility experts. Another way to bring accessibility for people with disabilities would be to take feedback from the employees with disabilities in your organization. Ask them to share what changes could be done in the workplace to improve their productivity and comfort.
For example, an employee using a wheelchair might ask for the installation of ramps in a specific place. Several other employees may have issues with heavy office doors to which the installation of automated doors would be a simple fix.
Don’t hesitate to seek regular feedback from your employees for potential trouble areas.
3. Encourage employee training and education
Transforming the workplace into an all-inclusive accessible office requires contribution from every employee. It starts with basic training for employees. From there, more training can be offered to help ensure an accessible workplace mindset.
You can cover crucial and simple topics, including:
- - Pushing in the chairs after finishing a meeting so that disabled employees can navigate comfortably
- - Leaving the front rows for employees who are hard of hearing
- - Prior sending of presentation slides, so that employees get enough time to understand and consider the information
- - Understanding “There is always more to it”
You employed assistive technology, took feedback, and trained your employees. You might think - that must be all, right?
But that is not true. While you have made significant progress, the process of making a workplace accessible is always ongoing. New technologies are introduced every day that help to improve the lives of people with disabilities. As time passes, new employees will join your team who will require either basic training or their own accessibility needs.
True workplace accessibility is an ever-growing strategy that must evolve as your organization grows.
At StrongGo, we know this is true more than ever, and we are always working towards a more accessible world by providing detectable warning dome tiles for every need. Speak with one of our experts today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.