WNA Blog

Sun 8 Apr 2018

Is Your Workplace Really Accessible?

Human Resources and Career Advice

Accessibility in the workplace is a hot topic in business today and rightly so. Everything from software availability and hardware installation, to making sure that your office is actually accessible to someone with limited mobility are important steps that every office should be taking. For businesses already taking steps to become more accessible, knowing whether or not you’ve reached the ‘right’ level isn’t always easy. If you want to find out if your workplace is really accessible, ask yourself the following questions:

Is Your Design Inclusive?

There are some elements about internal and external design that are always turned to when it comes to making your workplace accessible. Whether it’s ensuring that there are elevators within your building, or making sure that all entrances have ramp-access for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, inclusive design can seem simple. Some companies go steps further and opt for adjustable desks, ergonomic furniture, open-plan offices with plenty of light and space and so much more, but accessible design can often include so much more than just this.

Tonal contrast, for example, can help those with visual impairments find their way around much more easily. Avoid reflective surfaces throughout the building where possible, and ensuring that the acoustics are sufficient around the office will help those with hearing impairments. Of course, you can’t completely change the layout of a building and in the instance that adjustments aren’t possible, other alternatives might need to be sought out.

Have You Had An Access Audit?

Ensuring that your office or workplace fits to accessibility standards can be difficult to keep up when you aren’t sure where to start, and in this case it’s possible to get an accessibility audit. A surveyor will come to your office or workplace and will be able to tell you where you are complying with legislation and where you’ll need to make improvements. This way, you can focus more on the areas that need improvement and craft a plan in order to meet every criterion and improve your overall accessibility.

Are You Providing The Right Training?

Training is everything when it comes to accessibility. Not only will you need to provide relevant training to any disabled employees you have, but you’ll also need to ensure that their colleagues are given training and information regarding accessibility too. It’s likely that, in your bid to become more accessible as a business, you’ll have new equipment that may seem foreign to those with no idea on how to use it. Poor staff training could mean that, while you have the equipment you need, your office or workspace doesn’t have the right attitude which can, in turn, leave your disabled employees feeling alienated.

You also need to provide training to your staff on how to serve customers and interact with any clients with disabilities. Whether they use a wheelchair, have visual or hearing impairments, or have another disability altogether, providing training to your staff so that they are prepared and confident in their approach is a must.

Accessibility within your workplace is a vital thing to have. Not only will you have access to a much wider pool of individuals to hire, but by training your existing staff in accessibility practices too, you can build up a far better rapport with your customers and clients that may have disabilities overall. If your workplace isn’t already accessible, now is the time to make that change!

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