Part of running your own business and hiring employees is understanding the people that work for you.
There is little point – especially in a fledgling business – treating your staff as mindless robots, who have no preferences or expertise, and are instead just there to fill a role.
It will help your business hugely if you get to know your employees, learning what they are particularly good at, and where they may need some assistance.
As you hire more people, it is inevitable that you will at some point hire someone who also has some kind of disability. It might be an overt disability, such as using a wheelchair or crutches to move around.
Or it might be one of the hidden disabilities, where a person looks healthy on first glance but has deeper issues that can often be overlooked.
Learning to help and assist these members of staff will not only ensure you get the best out of their performance, but also benefit their lives too. Everyone wins.
Even if you don’t currently have any members of staff who need extra provision, the chances are you will one day. It’s best to hit the ground running in these scenarios, and ensure your office space and premises are ready for people who need a little extra assistance when it comes to doing their jobs.
If you’re non-disabled, it can be tough to try and understand the things that might be truly beneficial to employees with disabilities, so here is a primer to get you started…
It goes without saying that wheelchair access is a necessity for all modern businesses. Ensure you have the following areas covered:
- Doorways should be wide enough to accommodate the average width of a wheelchair.
- If you have exterior steps and internal stairs, you need to have a second option available for those who cannot use these.
- You don’t necessarily need to invest in a wheelchair desk unless someone has a specific need for it, but it might be an idea to have a couple of desks with height adjustable capabilities anyway.
Controls and Systems
There are numerous disabilities which impact the motor functions, i.e. the ability to use our hands effectively. This can make a number of functions around the office difficult, from using a computer to even just making a cup of tea in the office kitchen.
Here are a few solutions you should think about installing:
- Good voice recognition software is an essential for employees who cannot type as efficiently as other workers.
- Simple changes like moving to using rocker switches rather than toggle switches can make a big difference, especially in an engineering environment.
- Certain keyboards are easier to use for people with disabilities, so be willing to take this step should it be required.
If you do hire staff who have chronic health conditions or disabilities, there is a range of government funding available to assist you in making the above changes.
Talk to the right people and you’ll soon find you can equip yourself with the best workforce, who you can provide the very best conditions to.