Every organisation has a legal requirement to meet the physical needs of employees who are living with a disability. Yet, many workplaces fail to accommodate staff members, as well as clientsor visitors, who are living with mobility problems, which can make it difficult for them to gain access to an office.
Fortunately, you can make small and large changes to vastly improve your environment. To get started, read the four ways to change your office for public access.
1. Install a Commercial Lift
If you do not have a lift in place to help a disabled employee travel to different floors across the business, you might have no other option but to reject a talented candidate. You also could frustrate a client because you don’t have the facilities in place to accommodate their physical needs. To ensure your business never discriminates against a candidate or client, you must install a commercial lift into your office for public access.
2. Provide Accessible Equipment
While you might take an office’s environment for granted, the wrong equipment and facilities can make the working day a challenge for individuals with a physical disability. To ensure they don’t struggle in their workspace each day, you must aim to incorporate the correct equipment and storage solutions for their specific needs.
For example, you can improve accessibility by:
- Providing adjustable monitor arms
- Ordering height adjustable desks
- Installing accessible plug sockets
- Introducing cable management to avoid trip hazards
- Purchasing specially modified equipment (such as an adapted keyboard for those living with arthritis)
It is also beneficial to talk to a member of staff who is living with a disability about their working environment, as they might require a specific chair or seating arrangement to make their life much easier in the workplace. If you can accommodate their specific needs, they will feel like a valued employee and you will prove you are a caring employer.
3. Make Structural Changes
Structural changes could make it easier for your disabled employees, clients and visitors to move from A to B. For example, if you want to improve their working life, you should make the following alterations to your premises:
- Widen doorways to improve wheelchair access across the office
- Add exterior ramps
- Install audio-visual fire alarms
- Introduce accessible toilet facilities for disabled employeesand visitors only
- Relocate light switches to prevent reaching difficulties
- Switch doorknobs to lever handles to help people move from room to room
It is important to note that every employer has a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to a workplace for disabled members of staff or job applicants, which is under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
4. Permit Schedule Modifications
It might also be beneficial to talk to your staff about their working day. For example, they might find it much easier to leave work ten minutes earlier or arrive ten minutes later to beat the rush of employees entering or leaving the workplace. So, they will be able to manoeuvre across the workplace and enter a lift without hassle or fuss.