A worker sitting on a wheelchair in a conference room with other co-workers

Ensuring Your Business is Accessible to Employees with Disabilities

• Ensuring a business establishment is fully accessible for employees with disabilities is essential for creating an inclusive workplace.

• Installing ramps or elevators, providing accessible doors, and reserving accessible parking near the entrance are all important adjustments for physical disabilities.

• Employees with cognitive disabilities may require special software or technology, a flexible work environment, and extra support and guidance. 

• Employees with visual impairments may need help navigating by installing proper lighting and signage, voice announcements, audio aids, and Braille readers. 

It’s no secret that the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse. With this trend comes a higher number of employees with disabilities. Making necessary adjustments to ensure your business establishment is accessible for all your employees is essential for creating an inclusive workplace.

Research has proven that employees with disabilities can often be more productive and loyal team members than their non-disabled peers. They also bring unique qualities and experiences that can add tremendous value to an organization. Even beyond this, hiring people from diverse backgrounds also benefits your business’s reputation. It makes you more attractive to prospective employees, and customers and clients will also be impressed that your business is trying to create a safe and inclusive environment.

Here are ways to ensure that your business is accessible to employees with disabilities:

Accessibility Adjustments for Physical Disabilities

Physical disabilities include spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. To accommodate employees with physical disabilities, your business can make the following adjustments:

Install Ramps or Elevators

A ramp or an elevator gives employees with physical disabilities the ability to easily navigate different levels of your business establishment. When installing an elevator, it’s important to ensure the size is large enough for motorized wheelchairs and other assistive devices. It should also be equipped with Braille buttons and voice announcements for those with visual impairments.

Provide Accessible Doors & Entrances

Ensure that doorways are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other assistive devices. Automatic doors may also be necessary if there are several sets of doors or if doorways are especially heavy. Installing door locks with mechanical push buttons also allows easier access for those with difficulty with manual dexterity. This also eliminates the need to hold or open heavy doors, making it easier and more convenient for those with physical disabilities.

Accessible Parking Spaces Close to Entrances

If you haven’t already, it’s important to designate accessible parking spaces close to business entrances. These spots should be labeled and reserved exclusively for employees with disabilities who require a wheelchair or other assistive device. Additionally, creating pathways free from debris and other obstructions is necessary for these employees to safely maneuver around your business establishment.

A parking space for disabled

Adjustments for Cognitive Disabilities

Cognitive disabilities may require different adjustments depending on the employee’s needs. For example, some employees may require additional time when completing certain tasks or assignments. In contrast, others may need special software or technology to help them complete their work effectively. To help you navigate this, here are the important adjustments to consider:

Provide Special Software & Technology

Employees with cognitive disabilities may struggle to remember details or process information quickly. To help with this, providing special software and technology can be beneficial. These include software such as screen readers, Braille printers, text-to-speech programs, and other assistive technologies. Additionally, more basic features like adjustable font sizes, color contrast settings, and voice-to-text capabilities can greatly impact an employee’s productivity and success.

Create a Flexible & Supportive Environment

People with cognitive disabilities may require additional support, guidance, and encouragement to be successful. As an employer, providing a flexible and supportive work environment that meets their needs is important. This includes setting realistic goals and expectations and providing real-time feedback and constructive criticism.

Adjustments for Visual Impairment

Employees with visual impairments will likely need assistance navigating your business premises safely and independently. Here are some tips on how to make your business more accessible for those with visual impairments:

Install Proper Lighting & Signage

Making sure that there is adequate lighting and signage in key areas of your business establishment is essential. Installing adjustable lights that can be turned up or down based on the employee’s needs will help them navigate safely. It’s also important to provide tactile signage for those unable to read Braille.

Signage inside an elevator

Install Voice Announcements & Audio Aids

Voice announcements can be helpful for employees with visual impairments, as they can provide information on where they are and what is happening around them. Additionally, audio aids such as talking clocks and audio-enabled doorbells can also be beneficial.

Disabilities should not define what an employee can or cannot do. By making necessary adjustments to ensure your business establishment is accessible and inclusive, you can create an environment that respects and embraces diversity. This will demonstrate your business’s commitment to creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees.

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About the Author

Karl Steinfield

As a seasoned entrepreneur and digital strategist with years of experience, Karl Steinfield brings a wealth of expertise to the table. Having built and grown successful online businesses, they understand the intricacies of the ever-evolving digital landscape. Their passion for sharing knowledge and helping others thrive in the online business realm is unmatched. With their insightful articles and practical advice, Karl aims to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the essential skills, mindset, and strategies needed to navigate the challenges and achieve remarkable success. Join Karl on this exciting journey of entrepreneurial discovery and transformation.
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