How can you ensure that you’re considering disabled employees in the office culture?

Guidelines

Summary

Integrating different groups of people into the same workforce can provide so many benefits to both the employees and the wider company. Not only could it help to improve employee retention, but you may also see an increase in creativity and productivity throughout your team. In order for a business to be fully inclusive, you’ll need to create and implement a workplace culture that encourages and promotes diversity.

When it comes to disability inclusion, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that everyone feels part of the same team, and can buy into a collective approach to working life.

In this post, we’ll highlight three areas where people with disabilities may have traditionally found it difficult to integrate with a team, and offer suggestions for how to improve culture in these aspects of modern workplaces.

Socials

Social interactions outside the workplace are an important part of establishing relationships and bonds between employees for many modern companies. If organising after-work meet-ups is on your agenda, it’s vitally important that you consider the needs of all members of staff, to avoid anyone feeling left out. Instead of guessing what your employees may need or want from a work event, have conversations with employees who have specific needs. This will be the best way to ensure that everyone is catered for, and no one will miss out. You should also be sure to plan events with as much prior notice as possible, to give people time to prepare and to sort out any necessary personal arrangements.

Office design

There are many ways you can improve the design of your workplace, to ensure your office is accessible for people with disabilities. For instance, wheelchair users will benefit from widened doorways and ramps throughout the building. You should also make sure that any light switches or plug sockets are in reach for everybody. Safety measures such as these should be considered even if you don’t currently employ anybody who would necessarily make use of them. Being seen to have all the necessary measures in place throughout the workplace will help to promote inclusivity, and will attract potential employees from a wider pool of people.

Work from home considerations

With the pandemic disrupting the status quo in terms of how and where people work, many people may have found they have been able to work better away from the office. Doing away with potentially awkward commutes and the general hustle and bustle of the office environment could help employees to feel more comfortable, ultimately aiding productivity. According to one poll, 90% of disabled workers who worked at home during the pandemic want to continue doing so at least some of the time going forward.

If you decide to allow employees to continue working from home, you should consider ways you can make their day-to-day life easier, just as you would with on-site staff. This includes purchasing any equipment they may deem necessary to fulfil their job role as best they can. Find out whether they’d benefit from using assistive technology like screen readers or magnifiers, or any office furniture to make the experience more comfortable.