Is your workplace accessible for all?
If it’s not, you could block a raft of talent from your business. Or worse, face a costly discrimination claim. You need to make sure your workplace is accessible for all employees. It’s a legal duty.
From tweaking your hiring process to updating your risk assessments, here are five steps to be a more inclusive employer…
1. Add physical features
Could a person with a disability or limited mobility enter your workplace without support? When they enter the building, is there a ramp? Or stairs only? Could they open doors independently? You get the point.
Consider any physical barriers that might make your workplace difficult to access. Then think of ways to remove them, such as adding:
- Stairway lifts
- Wider doorways
- Emergency assist alarms
- Accessible toilets (there should be one with an outward opening door)
- Clear signs and braille
- Height-adjustable desks
- Disabled parking spaces
- Assistive tech, like screen readers
2. Adjust risk assessments
Regularly review your workplace risk assessments.
Risk assessments help you find hazards in your workplace. Then, you can take steps to reduce or remove the risk of harm.
Take your fire safety risk assessment. Think about if you need to adjust this – like by providing large-print safety signs or personal emergency evacuation plans.
Disabilities affect people differently. So, don’t write policies based on stereotypes or assumptions.
3. Tweak your recruitment process
Is it easy for everyone to apply for your role? You might exclude candidates without even realising.
Here are some tips to make applying easier.
- Provide easy read, Braille, or large print applications.
- Make applications compatible with screen readers.
- Focus on essential job criteria only.
- Consider different options – such as a taster day or phone interview.
- Ask applicants in advance if they need extra support.
4. Offer inclusive training
You can add a range of accessible features to your workplace. But unless you tackle attitudes and bias, you could still have an inaccessible business.
So, make sure you educate your workforce as well.
- Run webinars to teach staff how disability can affect workers.
- Train staff on how to prevent bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
- Share anti-discrimination and inclusive policies.
Don’t forget to keep learning yourself, too. Look at best practice to recruit staff with disabilities, and regularly update your policies to be inclusive for all.
5. Provide flexible working
Flexible working can make life easier for staff with disabilities.
So, if they make a flexible working request, you should consider it. This shows you’re taking steps to be a more inclusive employer. You don’t have to agree to flexible working. But be aware your employee might ask for it as a reasonable adjustment.
What you think is ‘reasonable’ depends on your business. But you should always listen to your employee’s concerns.
Here’s how flexible working can help:
- Flexitime. Your employee might need to adapt their working hours around medical appointments.
- Staggered hours. Your employee may want to start work later and finish earlier to avoid travelling at peak times.
- Remote or hybrid working. Your employee may find it easier to work from home.
- Reduced hours. Your employee may need to work less if they find the work demanding.
Ready to make some changes?
Just a few changes can make an employee’s life much easier. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Need help with your risk assessment? Time to update your flexible working and discrimination policies? Speak to your advisers today for expert advice on any issue.