Most businesses are trying to do more to make their environment more accessible for customers and employees alike. There is a degree of pressure upon businesses to use their funding to ensure that everyone has the support and access they need, particularly if they have a mental or physical disability. There are several ways in which businesses can tackle the problem of being inaccessible.
Controversially, there are currently no laws which require businesses to include lifts or ramps- if they currently don’t have employees who need them. However, there are reasonable adjustment laws which state that businesses must commit to making some changes to ensure that disabled employees can work at the business. Reasonable adjustments can include an accessible interview room on the first floor or access to affordable used mobility scooters where necessary. However, businesses should really be proactive about making their office space or shop more accessible for everyone by installing ramps and providing bathrooms for people with disabilities. After all, a more diverse workforce is great for business.
Accessible Support Materials
How many times do you receive a printed presentation at work? When presentations or support materials are printed out and distributed, it’s likely this is done without a second thought. However, the ability to provide support materials in a variety of different formats, such as with large print or written in braille, will ensure that everyone can read them. The same applies to signage around the business, keep it clear and easy to read to ensure that visitors and staff alike can get to where they need to go without difficulty.
Businesses don’t have to spend a fortune to make their workplace more accessible for everyone; they can simply make sure that all obstructions which could prevent people from moving around the business are removed. Stray wastepaper bins, boxes and plants are common problems that people with disabilities have to navigate around. It’s also worthwhile making your business accommodating towards service animals where possible, particularly if there’s currently a “no dogs” rule implemented. Simple gestures like this can demonstrate that you are a forward-thinking and accommodating business.
Most businesses are proud to offer an equal opportunities environment. However, when it comes to implementing this, many members of staff may be unclear or unconfident about how to best to behave. Employees and employers alike need to be sensitive and informed about disabilities in order to break down these barriers. Providing training which covers how best to help people with limited mobility, or the correct way to interact with service dogs, will provide your staff with the confidence to behave appropriately and make sure that everyone is included and treated equally. The business should also implement people-first and inclusive language, as it is more positive. This simply means that you say “people or person with disabilities”, instead of “disabled person” and you ensure that all training materials and contracts include clauses that refer to people with disabilities too.