It’s important that companies provide equal opportunity to everyone, which includes hiring people with disabilities. However, having disabled employees also brings the responsibility of making sure they’re comfortable. With that said, there are several improvements that can be made to make sure the environment is accessible for those with limited capabilities.
The first action towards making your business disability-friendly is to make sure it’s more accessible. Make sure you have ramps and lifts in areas that allow disabled employees to move around freely. You can start with parking. Even if your workplace has a small lot, designating a couple of handicapped parking will make things much better. And also make sure the curb is designed for wheelchair access and isn’t just a curb. Furthermore, all main entryways need ramps which are easy for walkers, scooters, and wheelchairs. This also goes for the interior of your business as well. There should be wheelchair access to every part of the building and ramps where there are short sets of stairs. These might seem like no-brainer items, but they’re essential in making your disabled employees feel independent, and unfortunately, accessibility is often overlooked by employers.
A Welcoming Environment
You want your disabled employees to feel welcomed and apart of the team. This step can be done by providing amenities that let them know their needs are important to the company. You can add braille to the bathroom signs and other points throughout the building. Or put up a banner welcoming assistance animals and designate an area for them. Adding items like this boosts the morale of the employees which in turn creates a better work environment.
Adjust Work Hours
It’s vital to remember that not all disabilities are physical. Therefore, some employees might require flexibility when it comes to working hours. Some disabled persons become fatigued easily and can only dedicate a certain amount of time per day. Therefore, modifying the schedule is the best way to ensure the work environment is comfortable for disabled employees. You can allow late starting times, frequent breaks, or even a short work week. The adjustments should be catered to each employee and their needs.
Create A Support Group
It’s not enough just to add ramps and adjust the work schedule if disabled employees’ voices aren’t being heard. It’s easy to overlook their needs, even when your company has tried to make the workplace inviting for them. With that said, a group designed specifically for disabled employees is a good idea. They need a safe space where they can feel comfortable voicing their concerns. This is the best way to get a firsthand account of what they’re experiencing and how the company can improve. If the employer is willing to listen, it can create a better workplace for everyone.
If your company has an office setting, it’s tempting to make everything about style and less about practicality. And while faux wood blinds look nice, they can present a problem for disabled employees. These days it’s trendy to have cordless shades and other types of coverings that open the blinds in a non-traditional way. For more on blinds and window coverings, check out Factory Direct Blinds. The problem with that is that it’s not easy for some people with limited physical abilities to use. Make sure you consider things like this when giving the office a new look. Fortunately, there are other cool features available that are stylish and also simple for disabled persons such as motorized blinds.
Learn More About Disabilities
One of the best ways to cater to your disabled employees is to get educated on their condition. As your company hires people with limited abilities, it’s a good idea to learn about it. That’s the only way to completely be able to accommodate them. And make sure it’s something that everyone from upper management to the supervisors is aware of. It makes sense and it’ll positively impact your business and connection with your disabled employees.
Create Awareness Within The Workplace
You want all of your employees operating as one, and that’s impossible if there are uninformed workers. Getting everyone on the same page is crucial to making sure disabled employees don’t feel like second class. You can hold training sessions or workshops that provide useful information about disabilities and friendly workplaces. It creates a team atmosphere when everyone gets together on one accord. And if one of your disabled employees is comfortable with it, let them lead the workshop to help the other make a personal connection to the session.
Safe And Accessible Equipment
One of the last things to consider is the equipment. In an office setting or area where computers are plentiful, it’s natural to have cords on the floor. However, this can be a dangerous hazard for some and precautions should be taken to be sure everyone is safe. Additionally, underfloor power should be implemented to remove further obstacles. It’s also a good idea to make electrical sockets more accessible and include adjustable desks for those who need it.
Be A Great Employer
Running a business might not be the easiest thing, but creating a successful workplace is possible. Oftentimes employers focus more on their bottom line and tend to neglect those who work for them, but that doesn’t have to be true in your case. As long as you follow the guidelines outlined in this article, your business should be fine. Make sure your company provides a listening ear to disabled employees and everyone will feel welcomed in the workplace.