Accessibility in the workplace means everyone has equal access to the location, tools and tasks required to perform their role. But for many people with disabilities, this isn’t the case! International Day of People with Disability is an annual event that happens on the 3rd December. It raises awareness of the struggles in the workplace, and how we can prevent this from happening in the future.
We spoke to Robin Christopherson at AbilityNet about why they think #IDPWD is a cause everyone should support:
“This day plays an essential part in raising awareness around the incredible potential of people with disabilities to make any workplace a happier, healthier, and more productive one. According to research by the Government’s Health and Safety Executive, with the right reasonable adjustments in place disabled employees are as productive as their able-bodied colleagues, take less sick leave and stay longer in their jobs. Moreover, the more diverse a workforce the happier and healthier it is – right down to the team level. Diversity matters on an ethical level, but it also makes great business sense. Oh, and by the way, you often aren’t even aware of those colleagues with a disability or impairment. Did you know that an estimated 85% of disabilities are invisible? We all bring our own rich brand of diversity to our work – and this needs to be recognised and embraced by employers and recruiters alike.”Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet
AbilityNet is a pioneering UK charity with a global perspective. They believe the power of digital technology should be available to everyone, regardless of ability or age. They offer a range of services, including student assessments, digital accessibility services. As well as free online expert knowledge, home support provided by a team of volunteers! They have some brilliant free webinars and training courses for anyone to view.
So how can you ensure there is reliable access to specialist equipment?
Create an open and welcoming environment for employees. Make it clear that if something is affecting someone’s work, they can talk to an appointed person. Set up regular meetings or 1-2-1s about wellbeing and physical health. By doing this we set an example for future employees and a standard for companies to follow.
Things to consider when setting up or updating your office:
- Wheelchair Ramps / Lifts / Wider paths for access between rooms and desks
- Quiet rooms or pods for noise sensitivity
- Braille keyboards and signage
- Adaptive and adjustable desks & specialist office chairs
- Invest in digital accessibility tools (speech detect, assisted listening devices, sign language apps)
- Do your research – a computer based job can encourage aches and pains, especially those with arthritis, osteoporosis, or an RSI. Look into preventative equipment (specially designed mice, shoulder arm and wrist support whilst working at the desk, extra lumbar or thoracic support)
A big part of making work more enjoyable is to intertwine disability awareness within your company culture. Creating an inclusive environment is important in making staff feel comfortable and productive. You can usually achieve this with awareness workshops, education and one to one sessions.
Products that can help:
A key focus at Posture People is to ensure those in the workplace receive the correct equipment to work comfortably. Now more than ever, DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessments are needed in the workplace for everyone.