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According to statistics released by the UK government, 20% of the working age population report having a disability. It is safe to assume that the fiugure is more than this, since many workers do not disclose their disabilities at work, especially when such disabilities seem to have little impact on their day-to-day activities. Nevertheless, these employees find accessibility features useful and tend to appreciate workplaces where they are available. Therefore, accessibility in the broader sense goes beyond catering for the needs of conspicuously disabled persons. Rather, it entails making the workplace usable by as many people as possible and it behoves employers to make accessibility features available at work.

If you need more reasons to increase accessibility in your workplace, here are they;

It is a legal obligation

The law mandates you to help workers with disabilities in your workplace. The Equality Act 2010 explains things that you can do to increase accessibility in your workplace. One of these includes changing policies or practices that make accessibility difficult in the workplace.

Another way to increase accessibility is to make considerations for people with disabilities in the building design of your workplace. For example, the workplace can have wide doors, entrances, exits and passageways to make it wheelchair accessible. Others include providing large signs and enhanced lighting for the visually impaired. You are also expected to increase digital accessibility by making your website and mobile app usable for all.

Additionally, you could provide extra aids and services for your workers at work. For example, you could have a British Sign Language interpreter at work to aid communication between you and deaf workers in your workplace.

All these will go a long way in increasing accessibility in your workplace. 

It promotes diversity and social inclusivity

Companies and organisations take the issues of inclusivity and diversity seriously, and for good reasons too. The positive effects of having a diverse and inclusive organisation are onerous and cannot be downplayed. However, while companies employ multiple ways to promote inclusivity and diversity, they tend to relegate accessibility to the background. This belies the fact that accessibility is one of the most effective ways to enhance inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

In reality, increasing accessibility sends a strong message to staff that their organisation cares about them enough to put their peculiar needs in place at the workplace. Staff living with disabilities, even though they are in the minority, tend to appreciate this thoughtful gesture and it gives them a sense of belonging in the workplace.

This not only boosts the confidence of such employees but also encourages more talented people with disabilities to apply for work in the company because they know they can maximise their productivity with the accessibility policy in place at your workplace. This, in turn, helps to enhance diversity.

Customers appreciate it

What better way to show that you care about everybody than by showing it in your workplace? After all, customers form their opinion about an organisation from their holistic experience dealing with such an organisation – the workplace, the staff, the quality of service and so on.

An accessible workplace means that every customer can get what they want without much fuss. When customers come to your workplace, they will also have to make use of some of the facilities installed for the staff. Many of the installed accessibility features in your workplace would come in handy for customers with disabilities, and this speaks well about your workplace.

Moreover, the easily noticeable diversity and inclusivity in your workplace, the result of intentional efforts to increase accessibility, is good PR for your brand. Public perception has a huge impact on any business and a good image for your company will translate to a healthy customer base. 

It enhances productivity

One direct effect of increasing accessibility in your workplace is an attendant increase in productivity. It’s no rocket science. Policies and facilities put in place to increase accessibility make it easy for workers with disabilities to do their jobs better.

Apart from workers with permanent disabilities, workers may be struck with temporary injuries that could potentially hamper their productivity. For example, an auto accident could keep a diligent worker in your workplace confined to a wheelchair for a few weeks. Such an employee can still maintain their high level of productivity if your workplace is designed to be wheelchair friendly.

It saves you money

Another reason why you should increase accessibility in your workplace is that it will save you needless costs. How? When a worker is unavailable to work, either permanently or temporarily, it would cost you some money to replace the worker. You also lose money due to lost productivity for the entire duration the role remains vacant whilst searching for a replacement, and the time the new worker spends learning the ropes of his new role and adapting to his new work environment. 

However, in an accessible workplace, staff tend to stay longer, maintain high productivity at all times, and in the event of a temporary disability, employees can still carry on their tasks effectively with minimal disruptions.

Conclusion

Accessibility in the workplace involves making considerations for people with disabilities. An accessible workplace makes it possible for workers with disabilities to perform optimally. If you have not been taking it seriously, it’s high time you started doing so.