How to Create a More Accessible Workplace Leave a comment

Written by: Xavier Miller

As an employer, it is up to you to create a workplace that is comfortable, healthy, and accessible to your employees. Entering the workforce isn’t easy, especially for people with disabilities. Doing your part in ensuring that the workplace is safe and welcoming will go a long way toward improving the happiness and productivity of your employees.

 Here are a few things you can do to create a more accessible workplace.

Make It Known That Your Workplace Is Disabled-Inclusive

For many individuals with disabilities, mustering up the courage to enter the front door is a challenge. Help them get over that first hurdle by making it abundantly clear that your workplace is inclusive of people with disabilities and that you are willing to accommodate their specific needs to the best of your ability.

Make sure your non-disabled employees are aware of the workplace’s disabled-inclusive status as well. Those with disabilities should feel comfortable in the workplace itself as well as working alongside their fellow employees.

Make the Workplace as Accessible as Possible

If a person with disabilities is to work at your establishment, then he or she needs to be able to move to and from said establishment effortlessly. This means doing things such as investing in ramps and disabled-only parking spaces.

Another big one is making sure doorways, and bathroom stalls are wide enough for wheelchair users to fit in. When you hire a person who has a disability, be sure to find out if anything can be improved upon in the workplace that will physically make it more accessible for them.

Invest in Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is what will help your employees with disabilities perform their regular duties more efficiently. What type of assistive technology you will need to invest in will depend on the disability — there is much software out there that can assist those who are hard of hearing, deaf, or visually impaired, as examples.

The tecla-e is one such piece of technology that enables individuals with physical disabilities to independently use smart devices, tablets, smartphones, or computers. This is a more cost-effective option as it can do the job of dozens of single-purpose assistive devices.

Ask your employee if there is any technological tool they use that makes their life more accessible, and if possible, try to incorporate it into their area in the workplace.

All Work and No Play Makes Everyone Dull

Work can be draining, and everyone benefits from being able to take a load off from time to time. To keep your employees happy, be sure to think up some fun activities they can do to relieve stress.

Employees shouldn’t need to rely on being at home to ease themselves from the stress of work. Anything from a Happy Hour to company picnics will do. Get creative! Also, remember: No one is too old to have a pizza party.

Encourage Healthy Living

Even if you do your absolute best to make your workplace as friendly, comfortable, and accessible as possible, don’t write off the possibility that aspects of your employees’ personal lives won’t seep into their professional ones.

It’s essential to promote both wholesome physical and mental health among your employees. Encourage healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Providing resources to professional services that can assist with stressors in their personal lives is also valuable. As well, make sure your employees know you have an open-door policy when it comes to discussing personal matters that may be impacting their performance at work.

Positive Reinforcement, Positive Reinforcement, Positive Reinforcement

Never underestimate the power of a simple “good job!” in the workplace. Feeling appreciated can go a long way toward keeping the spirits of your employees high. If you praise them when they do well, not only will they feel great about themselves, but they will also be more determined to keep up the good work, knowing they are excelling at their duties.

Positive reinforcement is also crucial when it comes to employees with disabilities. I have a friend who was in a horrific car accident six years ago. She miraculously survived but suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the crash. Coming to terms with her injury remains a daily struggle. Her place of work has stuck by her through it all, but having worked there before her injury, my friend is well aware that her work efficiency is not what it once was. Unfortunately, there are days when this greatly frustrates her. What’s important is that she is doing the very best she can, and as an employer, it is crucial that your employees know you appreciate their efforts.

The best a person can do is all we can ask of someone after all. My friend is a warrior, and hearing her friends, family, co-workers, and employers cheering her on helps a lot and keeps her spirits high.

Be Honest about Shortcomings and Offer Suggestions for Improvements

Most people want to do the best they can — if your employees have room for improvement, be sure to let them know. No one is perfect after all. Call them into your office for a private meeting and inform them about areas where you think they can improve.

Remember to keep the tone of the conversation positive. Instead of saying “Your performance in this area is disappointing” try “I know you are working very hard, but I know you can do even better.” Having goals keeps people focused. If they know, there is something they can improve upon, that gives them something to strive for. The subsequent sense of accomplishment upon improvement in that area is sure to boost their morale.

A good workplace is mainly dependent on the person who runs it. It might seem like much work, and maybe it is, but it’s the responsibility of an employer to make the environment a positive place for everyone to work in. In the end, it’ll be worth it. After all, happy employees are the best employees.

Please do your part in establishing a friendly, accommodating, and healthy workplace and your employees will be more than happy to do their part in performing their duties to the best of their abilities.

** This post was originally published on

Leave a Reply

Need Help? Chat with us