Globally, over one billion people have some form of disability.

You might know or work with someone who has a disability... and not even realize it.

In fact, many people with disabilities have successful careers and are fully integrated into society.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Still, those with disabilities often face disproportionate poverty and unemployment worldwide.

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Thankfully, many countries have created laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect those with disabilities.

These laws require organizations to provide reasonable accommodations to employees or applicants for employment with disabilities. But these accommodations can look different for everyone.

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So, how can you make your workplace more accessible?

Physical Spaces

One of the easiest ways to make your workplace more accessible is to remove physical barriers so everyone can move around freely.

Install things like:

  • Ramps and designated parking spaces

  • Wide doorways and bathroom stalls

  • Carpet or flooring in contrasting colors

  • Height adjustable desks 

  • Braille signs

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Assistive Technology

Assistive technology are tools that help employees perform their job more efficiently and effectively.

This includes:

  • Assistive listening devices

  • Screen enlargement applications

  • Closed captioning

  • Enlarged keyboards

  • Noise-canceling headphones

Ask your employees or co-workers if any of these tools would make their job easier.

Quiz

You've just met a new employee and notice that their face is always too close to the computer screen. Which type of assistive technology do you think they need?

Disability Awareness Training

It's crucial that you're respectful and friendly to your co-workers with disabilities. You can learn how by participating in disability awareness training.

Some ideas for training topics are:

  • Disability etiquette

  • Breaking down misconceptions about people with disabilities 

  • Helping co-workers with disabilities during an emergency

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Create A Less Stressful Environment

Work can be stressful and over-stimulating. This may cause discomfort to co-workers with mental impairments like autism or anxiety disorders.

Create a more calming workspace by:

  • Offering meditation or quiet stations

  • Installing dimmers for the lights

  • Providing extra time during meetings to allow others to process information

  • Encouraging frequent breaks away from the desk

Photo by LYCS Architecture on Unsplash

Take Action

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Ask others on your team: how can we make our jobs and workspace more comfortable?

Pick any of the tips in this Byte to get started!

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This Byte has been authored by

JS

Jennifer Stone

Instructional Designer