How to Make Your Office More Accessible for Physically Challenged?
Employing qualified, physically challenged people starts from first designing and building a disabled-friendly workplace. You can then begin to hire qualified disabled candidates. It is also helpful in creating a diverse workforce. A workplace that is accessible for physically challenged people will encourage them to perform at their best and be productive. This kind of workplace will look welcoming and promote happiness in your employees. Here are a few points that will help you in creating a more accessible office for physically challenged people.
Train and educate your staff and managers about a disabled-friendly organization. The more aware you make your employees, the more empowered your workforce will be. Give education and etiquette classes on how to behave with disabled coworkers. To break a few notions that make employees biased towards their physically challenged colleagues, give them quality training. Train them on what steps they should take in case of an emergency. These steps will make the disabled employees of your organization a part of the workplace.
2. Disabled Parking
A disabled person mostly has a blue badge that gives them access to parking areas. Your office parking must have enough space to accommodate any blue badge holders. Try to place their parking close to the entrance of the parking. Mark these places as reserved for blue badge holders and give them space between two cars. Mobility scooters like 3 wheel mobility scooterand powered wheelchairs should have an accessible entrance to the parking, accompanied by sufficient ramp and elevator access to the primary office area.
3. Make Use of Assistive Technology Image Source
Assistive technology helps in easing the life of a physically challenged person. Using this technology, disabled people can also be a part of the active workplace. Your disabled employees can give the best output and perform at their best with the help of assistive technology. Nowadays, companies use modern technology, online tools, and apps. People can make the best use of these advanced technologies only when they get proper training for the same. Some of the popular assistive technology are technoscientific screen reader software, speech recognition, color-coded keyboards, and assistive listening devices. To make the workplace fun for the physically challenged, install interactive activities and games that they can enjoy with their colleagues.
4. Working Hours
When it comes to working hours, the workplace should provide adjustment for physically challenged employees. The energy levels and mental ability at work may cause interference to the medications in the morning. They might need additional time during the working day for their medical appointments. Give them adjustable entry time to the workplace and work from home options to make them comfortable at work.
A bathroom is an essential space in every organization. When designing your workspace for the physically challenged, then don’t miss out on the bathroom space. A regular-sized bathroom is suitable for non-disabled employees, but it isn’t straightforward to access by a disabled employee. A person in a wheelchair needs more space to use the bathroom. So, design and create a large bathroom for physically challenged employees.
6. Top Floor Access
If your workspace is spread over more than one floor and is multi-story, then make sure to make it accessible for every employee. Young and non-disabled employees can use stairs, but for the physically-challenged employees, climbing stairs is not a very easy task. Installing a lift makes their access to higher floors easy.
7. External Awareness Programs
Conduct a session with an external consultant who is more knowledgeable about physical limitations to ensure further improvement. Many non-profit agencies conduct awareness programs and seminars that you can organize in your company. It will help employees in conveying fresh perspectives, increase participation, and developing confidence. Various self-help groups can help you in gaining more information that you can use in your workplace.
Replace your office doors with doors that can be easily opened by every employee. Heavy fire doors can be knotty for a person in a wheelchair to open. Automatic doors are an excellent choice as they don’t require any physical strength to open. In case an automatic gate is out of your budget, then install a door with industrial gas strings, which is more accessible. The doors for disabled persons should follow ADA standards with a minimum clear opening width of 830mm. The doors should swing open and close slowly to avoid hurting physically disabled people.
The above are a few ideas to make your office space more accessible for the physically challenged. To better understand the requirements of a disabled employee, you can survey how to increase the accessibility levels of your office space. It is an excellent way to understand employee needs and make it more comfortable for them. This way, your employees can express their views, which they otherwise might be conscious of doing. For an average person, it won’t be easy to understand the requirements of a physically challenged person.