National Disability Day
Posted on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 by Heather Duhig — No comments
National Disability Day
Today marks National Disability Day, a day to highlight the need to become more compassionate and understanding of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities.
There is an ongoing need to ensure equal opportunities are offered to those with both mental and physical disabilities, and with this in mind we have outlined some the ways businesses can work on providing simple adjustments to aid the integration of staff with disabilities into the workplace.
Under the Equal Opportunities Act 2010 employers must make reasonable adjustments for a person offered employment, or to an existing employee with a disability. This can include additions such as screen reader technologies, braille signage, alt text on graphics and wheelchair accessibility.
However, there are some other aspects which may not be as obvious to those without a disability and could make your business more appealing to prospective disabled employees.
Some points to consider if your workplace is accessible are:
- Is there easily recognisable disabled parking near your facilities?
- Are entrances and internal walkways always clear from obstruction?
- Are waiting rooms and receptions laid out to ensure space is available for wheelchairs or those with service dogs?
- Do you provide toilets facilities suitable for those with disabilities?
- Is your lighting sufficient for those who are visually impaired?
Another way to help your company offer equal opportunities for disabled employees is to review your employee training and company culture. Do you offer employee education to ensure everyone is contributing to a better work environment? This could include etiquette on leaving chairs out or items on the floor, sending out presentations prior to meetings for those with visual impairments or effective communication methods for social anxiety.
You could also accommodate more training opportunities for staff. Consider offering courses that aid confidence building or public speaking. Does your management need further education on dealing with disabilities in the workplace (Disability Rights UK offer a ‘Disability Confidence’ course aimed to increase awareness and knowledge of supporting disabled colleagues).
Your company culture can also have a great impact on how compassionate you are towards those with disabilities:
- Do you offer employees opportunities to choose workstations that make them feel more comfortable?
- Do you offer flexible hours or work from home?
- Are there spaces for employees who may have social anxiety to retreat to?
- Are you able to adapt your recruitment process to allow disabled candidates to reach interview stage?
- Do you offer flexibility in how employees attend meetings?
These are just some things to consider implementing into your workplace to ensure you are offering all employees equal opportunities. But these are not the only options open to businesses; the ways to increase accessibility and support to those with disabilities is continually growing and should be reviewed regularly to maintain relevancy within your company.