Always Accessible: Preparing your Business for Disabled Employees and Customers

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Finding a job regardless of your background and experience needs a lot of effort. For disabled people, the barriers in place of paid employment are greater still. According to the World Bank, there are around one billion disabled people worldwide, about 15% of the planet’s population. Disabled people are more likely to be out of work, but many have plenty to offer in a job.

By making just a few adjustments, your business would be primed to help a disabled employee do their job to the best of their abilities. In many countries, companies are legally required to make their premises accessible for disabled people, whether they are employees or customers. How can this be achieved?

Reasonable Adjustments

Think about people with different disabilities. Some have physical disabilities and may need to use a wheelchair to get around. Others may be blind, partially-sighted or have cognitive conditions such as autism. They may find the typical office or store environment overloading. Making reasonable adjustments for disabled people with different impairments is essential.

One such adjustment is the installation of an accessible toilet. For clients and staff, it will provide a much-needed place to go when nature calls with dignity. Accessible transport and space for parking are useful too. Accessible vans from companies like Allied Mobility and a dedicated parking space for disabled people outside the store or office will take care of that.

Meeting Needs

In the store, office or warehouse, the next step in creating an accessible environment is to look at the little things. For workers, look at the typical office desk and see what can help to make disabled employees’ jobs easier. Assistive technology such as screen readers, irlen filters for computer screens and braille keyboards can help, depending on what they need.

Next, look at what there is to help employees get from one part of the office to the other. Installation of an elevator and hand rails across the walls can remedy this problem. For entry into the office or store, a wheelchair ramp has to be built, especially if there is a lawn or pavement with a small incline in front.

For both customers and workers, look at the decor of your premises. For neurodivergent people, avoid using bright colours, intense strip lighting and anything that amplifies background noise. If possible, create a quiet space where customers/staff can go if they experience sensory overload.

Before you make any changes to the premises, ask your disabled employees what they would like. Otherwise, you might be making the wrong changes.

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