Accessibility as a concept is fairly self-explanatory. It basically involves making the workplace more accessible for employees with disabilities.
Enabling free and easy mobility of employees who require additional support allows them to be able to work and perform equally alongside their other peers. They may need support systems which may include things such as special equipment, wheelchair-friendly parking zones and staircases, and much more.
Organizations that incorporate accessibility as part of their HR protocol are seen to be more employee-friendly and considered compliant with laws and regulations. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandates organizations to take steps to accommodate employees with special needs.
Developing an Accessible Workplace
Any organization that does not discriminate against people with disabilities should have a clear understanding of what accessibility means, and to which extent you must make adjustments before beginning the hiring process.
Disabilities in people are a vast and diverse concept. It’s crucial to consider that disabilities can come in many forms, a person could have hearing problems, while someone else could have a physical disability. These two conditions are completely separate, and organizations cannot offer the same accessibility solutions to both of them.
For further guidance on facilitating workplace accessibility for employees, you can review the United Nation’s Workplace Accessibility protocol and develop something similar in your organization.
Features of Workplace Accessibility Protocol
If you want to know what features you must include in your accessibility protocol, here is a quick list.
Parking spaces for disabled employees should be available, and the location of their dedicated parking space should be close to the entrance of the workplace.
For uneven surfaces on the walkways or floors of worksites, there should be a hazard-free pathway for wheelchair mobility.
Accessibility on different levels of the building using ramps and handrails that are tried and tested.
Doors of rooms, entrances, and toilets must be wide enough for wheelchair access.
Lunch or break rooms must be accommodating for disabled employees. The water filter, refrigerator door, and coffee machine should all be lowered for easier access.
Making sure that their work desk, chairs, and nearby area is user-friendly for them to be productive and efficient at work.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Digital Accessibility refers to digital solutions that can help employees with disabilities. For example, communication tools are an excellent example of enabling digital accessibility in workplaces.
From a Human Resource perspective, all the accommodations that an employee may need in the digital space can be categorized as digital accessibility. A simple example of digital accessibility would be to make sure zoom meetings have subtitles generated for an employee with hearing disabilities.
On the other hand, for an employee with poor visibility, digital accessibility can mean having a voice note option to read emails or take notes on their behalf.