Accessibility is not nearly as expensive as many employers fear. Five basic ways to start building an accessible workplace include the following:
- Go paperless
Many people with disabilities, particularly those with visual impairments, benefit from electronic communication. Employees can adjust contrast, background colour, and font size, or use screen readers.
- Keep clutter to a minimum
Employees with disabilities may have mobility issues that are exacerbated by cluttered workspaces and narrow aisles.
- Provide Sensitivity Training
Sensitivity training is an excellent opportunity to answer questions, offer advice, and work through any concerns your employees may have. Misconceptions can be avoided with a little education. There are many great, free resources to help you design your training materials. Consult employees with disabilities for their ideas. You may even find that this training helps those with invisible and undisclosed disabilities as well.
- Provide reasonable accommodations
Workplace accommodations can seem like a financial burden, but typical accommodations are low-cost. Providing information in alternate formats ensures that everyone can access it. Ensure that your building complies with basic accessibility requirements. Ramps and designated parking are standard.
- Create an inclusive workplace culture
Everyone in the workplace needs to be aware of behaviour and attitudes. Identify emotional barriers that may inhibit employees with disabilities from being as productive as their coworkers. Advise employees to use appropriate language and discourage them from devaluing their colleagues or assuming they cannot contribute equally.
DESCA or Distinctive Employment Counselling Services of Alberta, is a community based non-profit charitable organization that provides supports, services and programs for individuals with barriers to employment, education and entrepreneurship.
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