How Businesses Can Accommodate Those with Disabilities

For a business to be successful in today’s landscape, it must pay close attention to its diversity and inclusion. When assessing diversity, though, one thing that can often be overlooked is disability inclusion. The World Health Organization states that roughly 15% of the global population lives with some kind of disability. As a result, those with disabilities make up one of the largest minority groups worldwide. Accommodating those with disabilities in the workplace goes way beyond just a legal obligation – it’s a moral imperative, which is why it’s so important that businesses prioritize this.

When fostering an inclusive workplace, you need to do much more than simply meet the legal requirements; instead, you need to create an environment in which everyone can thrive. To that end, detailed below are some of the ways in which businesses can work to make their workplaces more inclusive.

Accessible Infrastructure

First and foremost, the space needs to be made accessible for those with disabilities. This might include offerings like mobility scooters, wheelchair ramps, elevators, accessible restrooms, and designated parking spaces. You should regularly audit your accessibility measures to ensure that there aren’t any barriers to anyone accessing your space with ease.

Educate and Raise Awareness

The first step towards fostering inclusivity is education. As a result, it’s your duty to offer training sessions and workshops so that employees have an awareness of numerous disabilities. This will then allow them to debunk myths and also foster a sense of empathy and understanding for those with disabilities. If employees have an understanding of the challenges that those with disabilities face, they’re given more of a foundation to show their support and be more accommodating.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Telecommuting, flexible hours, and part-time schedules can all be incredibly valuable to those with disabilities. This is because they may require accommodations to account for medical appointments or treatment schedules.

Reasonable Accommodations

Employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the US. These accommodations might include modifications to workstations, assistive technologies, or adjustments to job duties. Every disability is different, so not every disabled employee will require the same modifications. Therefore, it’s important that you work with employees to determine their unique needs and accommodate them in the right way.

Inclusive Hiring Practices

Being an inclusive workplace starts all the way from the hiring process. This is because you need to put inclusive hiring practices in place to attract candidates with disabilities. Doing so might involve partnering with disability advocacy organizations, attending job fairs targeting individuals with disabilities, and ensuring that job descriptions are written in an inclusive manner. Similarly, hiring managers should be trained on unconscious bias and disability etiquette during the interview process.

Promote Accessibility in Technology

The world is more digitally driven than ever before, and that means technology plays an essential role in the workplace. As a result, it’s of the utmost importance that these digital tools and platforms are made accessible to those with disabilities. This might involve the use of screen readers, captioning videos, and designing websites and software with disabilities in mind.

Create a Culture of Inclusion

An inclusive culture celebrates diversity to ensure that everyone feels respected and valued. This means encouraging open communication and providing avenues for employees to express their concerns and suggestions for improvement. You can organize events, recognition programs, and employee resource groups to celebrate diversity and make for an inclusive space. Ultimately, it’s of the utmost importance that those with disabilities are properly accommodated in all areas of life.  

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