The number of disabled people in the American labor workforce is drastically smaller than non-disabled workers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17.9% of people with a disability were employed in 2020, a 1.4% decrease from the previous year’s rate. Since the health and safety of employees are important, it is important that your disabled employees feel cherished, respected, safe, and included in the workplace. As an employer, there are several ways you can achieve that.
- Amend your company’s work culture
Your company’s work culture plays a major role in how various tasks are carried out and the overall atmosphere of the workplace. This means that if you’ve established a work culture that doesn’t pay mind to the needs of disabled staff, the measures you put in place will reflect this. To make the workplace more inclusive and accessible to disabled employees, it is vital to amend various aspects of your company’s culture. For instance, you can create an atmosphere that allows disabled workers to suggest various policies and measures the workplace can introduce to make it more inclusive. You can also create more awareness through training sessions and launch inclusive marketing campaigns. As work is already stressful, some disabled employees (like those with Autism) may feel overwhelmed if worked for long periods. Therefore, you can introduce flexible working hours to ease the stress for all employees.
- Prevent mobility restrictions
Creating a safe and easy space for employees with disabilities to move around is a sure and effective way of making your workplace accessible and inclusive. There are several ways you can do this. For one, you can ensure you have sufficient disabled parking slots in strategic areas to make it easy for them to access the building. You should also consider installing functioning, safe elevators from reputable companies such as Sheridan Lifts to make it easier for physically disabled employees to get to higher floors safely. You should also make it wheelchair-friendly by installing ramps where needed or providing special wheelchairs. You should also ensure that areas such as the bathroom, break room, and conference room are also accessible to these employees.
- Invest in “inclusive” technology and equipment
Employees with disabilities are capable of doing the same tasks as those without. A hindrance from doing so would likely make them unhappy and unfulfilled in the workplace. However, they may require special equipment and tools to do so. To ensure that these employees can work to their full potential and at high levels of efficiency and productivity, it is vital to provide the necessary assistive or inclusive technology and equipment they need. You can install adjustable desks and chairs for improved comfort and invest in various tools such as Braille keyboards, text-to-speech softwares, noise-canceling headphones, and so on.
Hiring people with disabilities is a great way to make your workplace more inclusive, increase this demographic’s employment rate, and break the stigma against them. However, you can do more by making sure your disabled employees are happy to work in your company! Be sure to implement these tips for a more inclusive and accessible work environment. You should also speak to a consultant for more ideas and advice.