For some disabled employees, completing day to day tasks can be a significant challenge if they happen to be working in an environment which has not considered their disability. This is also important for any disabled customers from whom your company relies on their regular business. Although there are some legal requirements which businesses must adhere to, there is much more that businesses can do to ensure their working environments are accessible. In this blog, we will explore some of the most important examples of such improvements.
Ensuring your company’s building is accessible
Making significant changes to your company in the hope of improving its accessibility is very much down the company’s individual motivations. The primary focus for such improvements, should begin with ensuring that disabled employees and customers are able to access your company’s building. This may seem a simple task, but it can make the world of difference to disabled customers if they can, for example, easily access your store.
Making sure your entrance is not obstructed, by steps for example, is the most important of these considerations. Whether this means installing a ramp, automatic doors, or a combination of both, you should consider how easy it is for someone in a wheelchair or with a visual impairment to enter your premises. If your business also offers parking, you should also consider installing a disabled space for your employees and/or customers; ensuring these spaces are close to entrances and offer enough space for disabled drivers.
Changing your working environment to become more accessible
Disability can mean a wide range of impairments, with each being different for different people. To ensure your employees can go about their daily tasks unhindered, your working environment should take into account all potential disabilities. Changes to your working environment should therefore be made to accommodate those in need. For those with mobility disabilities, making sure that there is enough space to move around unimpaired should be a primary concern. Clearing away any loose wires or cabling, ensuring there is ample space between furniture and shelves etc. and removing any other obstruction is very important.
For those who may be visually impaired, there are various elements you could improve to their benefit. From ensuring your light levels are constant to prevent any struggle with glare, to installing specific programmes on computers to make them accessible to those with visual impairments – screen magnifiers for example. This also extends to signage. Making the font on signs larger and adding braille should be a key concern to ensuring signs are easy to view and understand by all individuals. For those who may have impaired hearing, you may need to consider what communication processes your employees or customers may struggle with. Speaking to these individuals will give them a chance to provide feedback and take steps towards improving your environment.
Training your employees
One of the final improvements you could make as a business is to train your employees. If you are a customer facing business, this training could relate to how they interact with those who happen to be disabled – in an attempt to prevent them from making reckless presumptions. This could be offering a certain type of assistance for example, or could even go so far as training them in sign language. Even if your training relates to how your employees interact with one another, training on improving awareness of certain types of disability is a great first step in creating a more inclusive working environment.
Laying out how your business will become more accessible for disabled people should be recorded in your business plan. If you would like help with putting together your business plan, get in touch today! Contact us online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.