An inclusive workplace means equality, non-discrimination, fairness, respect and dignity. This should be a standardised part of any organisation’s every-day goals and behaviour.
Every workplace environment should have a welcoming culture where everyone feels valued.
According to The World Health Organization, about 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability. An inclusive working environment starts with management firstly, making a commitment to hire people with disabilities and secondly, ensuring a comfortable working environment
Usually, workplaces aren’t designed for people with disabilities. Some cubicles in a work station can’t accommodate a wheelchair. This can make it quite difficult for those living with a disability as they aren’t able to use a computer. When you hire employees with disabilities, focus on the challenges they would normally face on a day-to-day basis.
Educate the staff
The next step is to relay the message of inclusion to the existing staff. Employees will need to learn about sensitivity, awareness, and empathy. This can be done through teambuilding sessions, seminars and conferences.
Get a great office design
At the end of the day, your office space needs to accommodate everyone. Hire a professional or get your office assessed so you have a better understanding of your office needs. This will help make the workplace more accessible to everyone.
A parking space that’s easily accessible to employees living with a disability is a great way to start. If your office has stairs, a ramp would be ideal for those with a wheelchair.
Get the right equipment
Other equipment that can help improve accessibility in the workplace include:
- Height-adjustable desks.
- Adjustable monitors.
- Easily accessible plug sockets.
- Cable management to reduce hazards
- Wheelchair friendly toilets
Get an assistive technology programme
Many companies depend on computerised technology to get the job done. In this case, people with disabilities may need assistive technology to support them in the workplace. This could include specialised computer software, colour-coded keyboards, screen reader and magnifier, assistive listening devices, refreshable braille displayers and more.
Create an Assistive Technology programme in the company that will benefit the employee based on their needs to ensure they’re able to perform tasks with ease and maintain or improve their independence.
The company will have to provide the employees with relevant training to benefit from the assistive technology, so they can learn, communicate and function better and feel comfortable and included.