The capacity to ensure all employees have access to the physical workspace and online resources is essential for those engaging with the 6.1 million individuals with disabilities that currently make up the nation's workforce.
Focus on the workspace and technology
Offering an accessible workspace for all employees is essential to ensuring an inclusive business atmosphere. Action items to help drive enhanced accessibility include:
1. Accessible website and application process – The first step is making sure your company website is fully accessible by including functions like large font and color contrast options for all web pages, closed captioning and embedded or alt text. This includes confirming your application is accessible for prospective job seekers and your website is mobile compatible.
2. Accessible documentation – Are you ensuring people with disabilities have accessible forms? This should be included in all forms of communication and in all settings including general team meetings. Again, ensure all online video is captioned and audio transcribed to provide access to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or late deafened.
3. Accessible amenities – Access to amenities should be the same for all employees. This means ensuring access to restrooms, water fountains and all public common areas.
4. Accessible business cards – Do your recruiters have braille business cards that they bring with them to career fairs or conferences?
5. Equipment accommodations – Any office equipment accommodations should be discussed for those with specific needs, such as provision of screen readers, headset keyboards, wheelchair-accessible desks, etc.
These are just some of the accommodations companies should be providing access to for their employees. Also, keep in mind that most accommodations cost $500 or less according to Job Accommodation Network (JAN).
Ultimately, it’s important to be proactive in addressing issues of accessibility as this is a great way for inclusive employers to build a positive reputation and help increase employee morale.