Having a diverse workforce is key to getting ahead of your competition. Since only 19.1% of disabled people have employment, many businesses realize a huge market of qualified employees goes untapped.
Yet, creating a disabled friendly office means more than meeting legal obligations. The office setup and environment are just as important, but what exactly goes into that?
To make sure your office is ready, let’s look at 6 ways to create a disabled friendly office.
1. Make the Building Accessible
An office building disabled employees can freely move around in is essential to their daily needs.
This includes providing disabled parking, wheelchair accessible doorways, and ramps at all entrances. Install accessible bathrooms and make sure all elevators have Braille/accessible buttons.
Getting an ADA inspection will ensure your building meets all disabled friendly requirements.
2. Install the Right Equipment
An accessible building is only part of the equation. Making sure the work space adapts to their needs will keep disabled employees comfortable and productive.
Installing accessible equipment is easier than it might sound. Provide simple things such as adjustable desks and monitor arms. Put plug sockets in easy to reach areas and offer color-coded keywords.
Even installing software that makes reading easier or using sign language apps can be beneficial.
3. Build Team Awareness with Training
Having a team that is knowledgeable on the needs of disabled co-workers is an important part of integrating them into the work workplace.
Build awareness by conducting training sessions in the workplace. Teach your team how to best deal with disabled co-workers. Dispel any myths and give them insight on how they can help those around them succeed.
4. Adapt the Workday
Many disabled workers have difficulty with long workdays. Allowing modifications to work hours will ensure your office remains disabled friendly.
Try to give flexible start times, frequent breaks, and the option to work from home when needed. Let employees off work to attend medical appointments. If a disabled employee is more productive in the evening, adjust their working hours to later in the day.
5. Policy for Open Communication
To have a disabled friendly office, it’s crucial to make sure all employee needs are being met. Create an open-door policy to keep the channels of communication open.
Everyone’s needs will be different, so there’s not a single solution that will accommodate the whole office. Letting your disabled employees know they can ask for special requests or give feedback at any time will make them feel valued.
Also, consider having a weekly touch base meeting during the beginning weeks. You want to make sure a disabled employee is adjusting well.
6. Consider Outside Support
Having the help of outside experts can prove invaluable when creating a disabled friendly office. Government agencies or non-profit organizations are great resources to reach out to when you have questions.
They can also help with extra training. An outside source will bring a fresh perspective than using a corporate group.
Create an Inclusive Environment with a Disabled Friendly Office
Build a work environment that will get your business ahead. By creating a disabled friendly office, you can tap into a new pool of qualified employees and set both of you up for success.
For more advice on building your business, check out the posts in our Articles section!