When creating an office space, business owners work hard to ensure the space is attractive. They ensure it is functional and comfortable, a place where employees happily spend a lot of their time. But is your business accessible to everyone? A skilled workforce doesn’t always add up to an entirely able-bodied workforce. To attract diverse talent, inclusivity must be a part of the conversation within your office design – be proactive in creating a space welcoming to everyone.
Here are some quick tips to create an accessible workplace.
Inclusion, in many regards, is a matter of law with employment being one of the biggest areas of concern. While some requirements for accessibility in commercial spaces are well known, other equally important disabilities are often overlooked.
Look at aspects such as:
- Disabled parking spaces – Are they wide enough? Are they at an appropriate distance?
- Doors – Are they heavy? Are they automatic? Are they wide enough to allow passage?
- Hallways – Are they wide enough? Is your flooring disability friendly?
- Desks and tables – Can all individuals be seated comfortably? Have you considered adjustable height desks?
- Signs – Are all signs in clear view and tactile (braille lettering)?
Communal areas can also present as barriers to disabled employees if proper planning has not been implemented. For instance, kitchens, which are often designed to take up a minimal amount of space, can pose a challenge to a disabled individual; equipment is often hard to reach and without an accessible area it will be harder for disabled ones to be a part of the conversation.
And although we are all adults, toilets are still considered communal areas. Accessible toilets are often separate from general ones creating a split between your employees.
When creating an office space, commission experts with inclusive design experience, this will ensure your business is not unknowingly discriminating against anyone.
Most businesses offer generous and attractive employee benefit schemes. Some examples include company cars, travel vouchers, and gym memberships. But are they all accessible to those with disabilities?
If a company car is a part of your offering, you may want to consider acquiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle as an alternative for a disabled person. What about travel vouchers? Does the company you have a deal with providing information on accessible accommodation and destinations?
It is worth reviewing these to identify where they may be room for improvement.
Although impossible to predict an individual’s circumstances prior to their employment, these suggestions will enable you to begin creating an environment where all feel comfortable and supported.