Why accessibility in the workplace is important to all
Accessibility at work is about removing barriers to make sure disabled people can take an active part in working life.
Employers should ensure that the workplace and its work are accessible to as many people as possible. There's a legal requirement to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled employees or those with physical or mental health conditions are not disadvantaged when doing their jobs.
All public places and workplaces should be accessible, especially if companies are serious about their commitment to diversity and inclusion. In the long run, investing time and money into these solutions can only benefit the business, opening it up to a broader pool of talent and cultivating a work environment that employees want to come to.
This blog gives ideas on making the working environment more inclusive and diverse by considering everything from a commercial wheelchair lift to mandatory inclusion and diversity training so everyone can participate and succeed at their job.
1: Physical accessibility
Having an accessible workplace is one of the easiest ways to ensure a disability-inclusive workplace for anyone suffering from a health condition or a physical impairment.
High-traffic areas such as corridors and entryways should be wide enough to allow wheelchair users to fit comfortably. If they are not, consider removing any cumbersome furniture obstructing their path.
For businesses that operate across multiple floors, workers should have unrestricted access to common areas. Assess your stairs and consider how accessible they already are, along with toilets and refreshment facilities. Between floors, lifts for buildings over multiple floors or commercial platform lifts for shorter travel can carry mobility devices like scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs.
No workplace today would be complete without a lift
Of course, lifts offer many other practical benefits, including the ability to move office equipment, boxes and other elements between floors.
Most light switches are installed for standing employees and sit too high for wheelchair users. All team members and all those using the premises should have access to and control of light.
Safety and informational signage are vital resources for any workplace and imperative to maintaining staff well-being. All signage in your workplace can be made more accessible in their design, such as Braille, a high contrast ratio and a non-glare finish.
Good air quality is required by law in all workplaces, and adequate ventilation can improve concentration and health. This feature can be easily overlooked when assessing a premises' accessibility rating, but it is a vital consideration - opening windows and doors promotes healthy airflow throughout the day.
2: Assistive technology
By installing assistive technology in your workplace, you can significantly improve accessibility and inclusivity. These technologies are designed to support those with visual or hearing impairments and include:
- Voice recognition work devices
- Arthritis-friendly keyboards and displays with Braille
- Screen magnification software for people with low vision
- Sign language applications
3: Provide specialist workplace equipment and furniture
Employers can invest in special equipment in the workplace to help disabled employees working around the space. Popular and inclusive equipment is used across many industries, and that can benefit non-disabled members of staff too, with options including:
- Height adjustable or sit-stand desks
- Ergonomic desks, chairs and keyboards
- Monitor and screens with anti-glare
- Ergonomically designed seating
4: Incorporate diversity training into workplace culture
Including disabled workers in the workplace does not end with the physical and digital modifications already mentioned. Employers can raise awareness by establishing a process for incorporating diversity and inclusion training to ensure an inclusive culture where everyone feels understood, welcomed, and accommodated.
5: Reduce stress and promote a healthier culture
Any workplace culture can have a considerable effect on the overall accessibility and health of all staff. Most often, unhealthy cultures that elicit high stress can result in a decline in employees' mental and physical well-being. Workplaces should consider the following initiatives:
- Investment in employee well-being support programmes, providing support and resources
- A process for regular employee feedback and clear communication
- Offer flexible working hours and encourage paid time off
Employers can reduce stress and sickness by prioritising cultivating a healthier work-life for staff and improving focus and decision-making capabilities.
Why is accessibility important in the workplace?
When a workplace embraces accessibility, it can support a wider pool of employees and customers by hiring people with disabilities, cultivating a positive workplace culture and showing their commitment to workplace equality.
To aid workplace disability inclusion, some employees may be eligible for financial and practical support from the employment support programme, covering additional grants when reasonable adjustments are insufficient to meet the individual's needs.
How our lifts can help
We help hundreds of different businesses improve accessibility in the workplace through the introduction of a lift to their workplace. If you think you could improve physical disability inclusion in the workplace by introducing a passenger or platform lift, please contact our team. Also, if your lift needs refurbishment or replacement, we can help.
You can learn more about our lifts for offices and commercial buildings and see our case studies here.
With over 50,000 installations across the UK and nearly 100,000 units in our service portfolio, we offer a wide range of lift solutions and services to move people and goods. Take a look at our product range or simply get in touch.Contact Us