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How To Create A Disability-Friendly Work Environment

It is essential that your workplace is a happy workplace as this can lead to more productivity. At the end of the day, a happy workplace is a productive one. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you provide a safe, friendly and comfortable environment for your staff to work in – and this also applies to employees who have disabilities. Unfortunately, many commercial sites are not disability-friendly, leaving many people with disabilities unemployed.

There are around 11.9 million disabled people living in the UK with only 46.4% of working-age disabled people in employment, compared to 84% of non-disabled people. The main barriers for employment for disabled people are difficulty with transport (29%) and lack of job opportunities (43%). However, as an employer you can implement systems into the workplace to overcome some of the barriers those with disabilities might face.

Here, supplier of braille and tactile signs and reusable name badges, Badgemaster discusses how you can make a disability-friendly workplace.

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Training

Most workplaces aren’t designed for people with disabilities – so it’s important that you educate yourself and your employees with the challenges that a disabled employee might face on a day to day basis. Both you and your staff need to behave sensitively and with awareness. A disabled colleague is likely to face daily challenges which others may have never experienced.

By making changes to  the workplace, you can prevent discrimination. Giving exposure of the wide spectrum of challenges individuals can face will allow colleagues to better understand their needs.

You might also want to provide appropriate training for key staff members. They may need to be aware of any special requirements or in some cases, they may need to learn how to provide assistance in specific circumstances.

Equipment & assistive technology

It is rare to find any careers which do not require some level of engagement with technology,, whether it’s a computer, tablet or special machinery. There is no reason why disabled individuals can’t carry out the same role with assistive technology, if required. This simply supports them in the workplace and caters to their needs. It’s an employer’s responsibility to break down the barriers and provide a comfortable environment for disabled employees to work in.

According to Papworth Trust, 53% of working-age adults with impairments experienced barriers to work compared with 30% of adults without impairments. Implementing assistive technologies in the workplace, breaks through the barriers for the impaired. For instance, the visually impaired will require braille keyboards and phones, with screen readers and listening devices. With a little help from assistive technologies, there is no reason why the visually impaired can’t do the same role as their fellow colleagues.

Access & facilities

You need to ensure that you make your workplace easily accessible for all disabilities. First, you should provide disabled parking for employees who require it – this includes parking that is close to the entrance of the building and access ramps instead of stairs. Elevators may be required internally for buildings with multiple floors.

Braille signs are a must for the visually impaired and they are a small fix you can apply to your business to support the impaired around the workplace. The same goes for sign language support, mobility and even first aiders who have sufficient training in dealing with potential incidents. Having the correct support framework in place helps to create a safe, friendly and comfortable workplace.

This also applies to your customers – making your premises disability-friendly encourages those with an impairment to visit you because they won’t face barriers when using your services. The main reasons disabled customers tend to switch a competitor is down to inaccessible premises, lack of communication with the disabled and inaccessible websites and telephone systems.

By ensuring your work premises are disability-friendly, you are offering more opportunities to the impaired, providing them with a comfortable and safe workplace. Some work place changes are essential to the success of your business. Be considerate of the impaired and be a part of the percentage of businesses offering work opportunities to help disabled people become employed.

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