How to Make Your Workplace Disabled-Friendly

Disabled-Friendly Workspace

The 21st century is all about inclusiveness. Nowadays, technology is so advanced that it can hardly be said that creating a workplace suited to the needs of everyone, including people with disabilities, is particularly difficult.

However, according to the Australian Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2012, nearly half of disabled working-age people were not in the labour force, which is a rather high number. In fact, the government had started to take conscious steps towards improving work-related opportunities for people with disabilities beginning in 2010, so it can be said that we are on the right path. However, without the help of independent companies and large organizations, it is impossible to make a change. That's why you, as a business owner, should make your workplace disabled-friendly. Read on to find out how you can achieve that.

Accessibility is of the essence

A lot of the times, we don't realize how the places we visit every day can be absolutely inaccessible for some people. So the first step to creating a disabled-friendly working environment is making it accessible for everyone. Designate disabled parking spaces near the entrance of your premises, make sure your doorways and halls are wide enough and that nothing is blocking the way, that there are ramps at the entrance, that your elevator is spacious enough, and that the workspaces and washrooms are accessible. Include Braille where necessary (such as the elevators). You might need to hire professionals to assess and, if needed, redesign your offices.

Investing in assitive technology

Depending on the disability in question, you might have to invest in some assistive technology. This doesn't only mean physical equipment, but also the appropriate software, apps and other necessities needed to use technology. For example, text-to-speech software, speech recognition, assistive listening devices and Braille printers and displays might be necessary. This might sound daunting at first, but be aware that today there is numerous software you can access free of charge, so you won't necessarily break the bank.

Building awareness in the office

Education in the workplace begins with you. First, you need to do your homework and get properly informed before you can make a change in your workplace. However, it is also important that you build awareness among your employees as well. It is a good idea to do this via workshops or training programs, where you can share all the information you need and make sure your employees understand what kind of changes there are going to be in the office and what they can do to help.

Explore your advanced options

As mentioned earlier, the Australian government has started introducing new programs that can really help disabled people to a great degree. For example, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which was launched nationwide in 2016 has already started to expand considerably and offer convenient, personal plans to people with disabilities to provide them with the support they need and alleviate some of the financial burden.

What does this have to do with your company? Well, actually, you yourself can also become an NDIS provider by registering. Besides having benefits for people with disabilities, it has several benefits for you too. Applying is not a very complicated process, but if you feel like you need help and consultation, you can always get some NDIS provider application assistance, which will help you better understand how this scheme works.

As you can see, there are several things you need to do if you decide to make your workplace disabled-friendly. However, you can introduce these changes and features gradually and create a thriving working environment comfortable and safe for everyone involved. It will allow you to tap into a previously undiscovered pool of workforce and do something good for your community at the same time.

Guest Author

David Koller

David Koller is a passionate blogger and copywriter for Media Gurus, mainly interested in SEO and Digital Marketing.