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A Guide to Improving Accessibility in the Workplace

Have you done enough to provide a disability-friendly workplace? In this day and age, it is more important than ever to maximize accessibility within your business. It is not just because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), either. An accessible workplace is one which can be beneficial for your company.

According to statistics, more than one in four US adults have some form of disability. If you were to neglect disabled people from being staff members, this is going to limit the talent pool you can draw on. Along with reducing your ability to bring on-board and retain high-quality employees, it can also negatively affect team morale and limit your chances of putting together a diverse workforce.

With these points in mind, here is a quick guide to improving accessibility in the workplace.

Assistive technology

Thanks to the continual advances in technology, there is a growing range of assistive software, devices, and hardware available. This assistive technology gives disabled employees a greater chance of overcoming possible barriers and succeeding with their work.

This technology can range from screen reader software to Braille keyboards. You may also decide to use closed captioning services, which allow for all video and audio content to be captioned. This is ideal for those with disabilities that cannot normally view or listen to this type of content.

An organized and considered office design

The design of your office can play a vital role in the comfort and accessibility you provide for disabled employees. By removing certain physical barriers, for instance, this can help your staff members get around with ease.

Do not just stop there with the design of your office. You should also change up the way work is organized. By doing this, you can create a more efficient and productive office – one that is not being held back due to a lack of structure.

Listen to your employees

It is essential you listen to your employees. You need to take into consideration their individual concerns. Do they feel other staff members are discriminating against them? Perhaps they have suggestions for which assistive technology is best to use? Not only should you take the time to listen, but also act on the comments they make.

Also take the time to factor in how employees will communicate with you. For example, certain staff members will feel uncomfortable in providing feedback without anonymity. As a result, ensure there are several ways for workers to communicate. This can include everything from anonymous surveys to regular team meetings.

Provide specialist training and support

It is not just a case of believing every employee will know how to act appropriately when interacting with their disabled colleagues. Due to this, you should supply specialist training for all of your staff members. This will assist with limiting the possibility of discrimination.

What if discrimination still occurs? In this situation, first make sure you provide the right support for the employee that was targeted. It is also vital you send out a clear message to instigators that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated, as this will further help eliminate bias from the workplace.

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