Is your office disability-friendly? According to statistics, 3.6 million people over the age of 15 use a wheelchair. Therefore, organizations need to create an environment that is conducive for people with disabilities. Remember, this is not only making your organization inclusive, but it is also a federal requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Let's look at the various ways you can make your workplace inclusive and accessible for individuals with disabilities.
A Layout That Facilitates Movement
If you can’t change the furniture in your workplace, you should at least reconsider the layout. The organization needs to ensure the pathway is wide enough for a folding wheelchair to pass.
Most commercial premises have doorways that are between 30 and 32 inches wide. The construction of the interior should meet ADA standards. Titanium rigid wheelchairs are about 25 inches wide, but heavy-duty ones can be up to 40 inches wide. Take these measurements into consideration when reconstructing the layout of your workspace.
Desks and Equipment
The space between desks should be sufficient enough to allow staff who use crutches to move around with ease. You may consider getting adjustable desks for people using transport titanium rigid wheelchairs.
You also have to evaluate accessibility to electrical sockets. The cables running through the office must be carefully laid out to prevent tripping hazards. You should also try and minimize bumps and sudden elevations on walkways as well as ensure that all gratings are not wider than 13mm. It‘s essential to rethink all aspects of the interior that may serve as obstructions for people with titanium rigid wheelchairs.
Adopt a Flexible Work Schedule
Given that many public places are yet to adopt inclusive designs, mobility is still a challenge. That is why organizations ought to adopt flexible schedules for their employees. Working from home allows staff members to make their own decisions about their work environment.
With the prevalence of digital technology, there are many ways employees can work remotely. Video conferencing and mobile apps can boost productivity for employees with disabilities. Virtual and augmented reality are other tools organizations are adopting to facilitate telecommuting.
The organization should invest in spaces for meditation and relaxation to help them manage stress. Consider having a no-meeting-day to control movement around the workplace.
It always helps when other members of staff understand the challenges that people with disabilities are faced with on a daily basis. Awareness can be implemented through trainings and seminars to help employees gain an insight into those challenges. Encourage all staff members to take part in making your work environment more inclusive.
Provide Ongoing Support
The best way to organize an inclusive work environment is to work with employees with disabilities to develop a comprehensive policy. The organization must consult with staff members with disabilities to understand their needs. Only after grasping their challenges can the organization hope to impart the same to other employees.
The focus of any organization must be to provide support for all staff so that those with disabilities are afforded the right to be properly supported and therefore productive throughout the workday. Aside from creating a physically inclusive workplace, support could be provided in a support group where everyone can share their concerns. A support group can offer invaluable insights for the company on how to improve the workplace.
A diverse workforce is beneficial to any modern organization. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the workplace is conducive, particularly for individuals with disabilities. ADA compliant modifications to the business premises must accommodate people in wheelchairs so productivity can be improved workplace-wide. Managers should see it as an essential investment for the future of their workforce.