01 Feb Four ways to make your Workplace Accessible & Inclusive for all
With India still developing and its infrastructure yet to go miles before being recognized as state of the art, for many organizations it may seem like a challenge to invest money & make your workplace accessible and inclusive for all. While small businesses that have the capacity to accommodate five to six employees can get away with makeshift arrangements, organizations with more than 500 staff struggle to ensure accessibility.
But businesses big or small would not like to miss an opportunity to tap into previously untapped potential to increase their productivity. Making the workplace accessible for all is one way to enhance the organization’s productivity and increase long-term return on investment.
Lemon Tree Hotel, a well-known brand in the hospitality sector is aware that making their infrastructure accessible will ensure business from customers including Persons with Disabilities. But they are also known for their socially inclusive workplace policies. With accessible & inclusive work environment and proper job mapping, they have successfully been able to improve their efficiency and reduce their employee attrition rate as well as operational cost.
“This is a business for us, not a charity,” says Aradhna Lal – VP Marketing, who has been a vocal advocate of hiring persons with disability as a means to improve efficiency rather than just adhering to the government’s mandate.
But for many, the question remains of How to make the workplace accessible without creating a big dent in the organizational budget?
The following tips would help you get started in your journey towards an inclusive & accessible workplace.
- Get your workplace audited for accessibility.
Every workplace is different. The dissimilar infrastructure and needs of employees pose diverse accessibility challenges. There is no one size fits all solution. An accessibility audit can help you identify those gaps and implement a cost-effective solution tailored to your organization’s need.
Apart from washrooms & car parking provisions auditing checklist usually includes
- Approach routes
- Signage for visually impaired
- Entrances & doorways etc
The key to making the workplace accessible is to ensure the ability to use rather than just providing means for access.
- Use Assistive Technologies.
In this age, it should go without saying that there are many Assistive Technologies out there to overcome almost every type of digital barriers and help persons with disabilities adapt to their work setting and needs.
- Build awareness among staff.
Making your workplace accessible & inclusive is not limited to infrastructure. Having a staff who is supportive & sensitive can go long way towards building an inclusive work culture. Organizations can organize workshops to sensitize staff about difficulties faced by Persons with Disabilities & how not to form negative perceptions about them. The workshop can be in form of fun activities which would both engage the staff and communicate the message at the same time.
- Take baby steps.
Like every other positive change. Making the workplace completely accessible at once may not be easy and may feel overwhelming. Management should remember to make incremental and consistent advances towards making their workplaces accessible and inclusive. They can assess their staff & their requirements and address them one by one, slaying one demon at a time.
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