Creating a community that is inclusive and accessible is not about meeting the needs of people with disabilities, but rather, meeting the needs of people. Here are four tips for creating more inclusive workplaces:
· Set the tone at the top: Whether you’re a small, medium or large-size business, work with your leadership team to set a top-down commitment and vision for an accessible and inclusive workplace using strategies and policies. Showcase your inclusive strategy and approach on your website and public-facing materials.
· Offer workplace accommodation support: Every team member has different needs. Providing accommodations like desks that are adjustable in height, task lighting for those who may have low-vision or specialized software to assist in job duties often costs very little, but can have a big impact on productivity. Work with your colleagues to understand their needs and how you can best assist them.
· Create barrier free pathways and aisles: Ensure all major pathways in key areas/functions of your workplace are clear of obstacles. Regardless of a person’s abilities, it is nice to know that there aren’t any tripping hazards.
· Use large print and photos in documentation and signage: Provide documents (both internal and external) with alternate print sizes (at least 18pt and signage with at least a 72pt font). This size and easier to read in sans-serif font types (e.g. Verdana, Arial.) This is ideal for individuals with low-vision and it also will decrease navigational barriers and accommodate employees and customers who may be Deaf. Adding photos and other visuals that support the materials will also make it easier for employees or customers who more strongly identify with picture symbols instead of letters and numbers.
Creating a community that is inclusive and accessible is not about meeting the needs of people with disabilities, but rather, meeting the needs of people.
The Vancity “Good Money” blog is published by the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. Vancity describes itself as a values-based financial co‑operative. Vancity regularly appears on Canada’s Top 100 Employers list and similar lists for being a progressive, inclusive workplace.