Workplace Accessibility: What is it and Why is it Essential for Your Small Business?

accessible workplace

How accessible is your workplace?

If nobody within your small business has a disability, accessibility may not be a pressing concern. However, almost 40 million Americans live with a disability of one kind or another, and it’s possible one of these individuals may be looking to work for you someday.

As the owner of a small enterprise, you simply cannot overlook accessibility in your workplace. Expanding your team is certainly one of the most exciting aspects of growing your business, and you should be as accommodating to all employees.

Accessibility is core to that, and we take a closer look at its importance below.

Breaking Workplace Accessibility Down

Integrating accessibility into your small business means more than making sure you offer wheelchair access or a disabled toilet. It actually encompasses your products, services and the workplace itself.

One disability that may be overlooked is blindness or visual impairment. RightHear is committed to boosting accessibility for everyone with sight-related problems, using cutting-edge sensors and our innovative app to offer comprehensive guidance throughout indoor environments. This makes navigating often complex sites far easier, enabling blind or visually-impaired individuals to enjoy greater independence. As positive it is to implement changes to the workplace to help make it more accessible, there is still a possibility of an accident occurring. If this has happened to you and you live near or in Vermont, you may wish to take a look at Workers’ Compensation in Vermont to see what type of compensation you could be entitled to.

Taking the needs of blind employees and customers into account is just one aspect of accessibility, though. You need to consider all the ways in which people with disabilities may be cut off from your products and workplace. Adjusting your business premises and practice is key to being more inclusive, whatever that requires

Installing ramps, sensors for RightHear or overhauling your website to aid accessibility does involve extra expense, but this pays off by expanding your audience.

A Growing Trend

Research shows more and more big businesses are embracing diversity in all respects, which includes focusing on the needs of disabled workers / customers. Mental and physical disabilities are now discussed far more openly, and the old stigmas are gradually being destroyed. There’s still some way to go, but businesses are generally more aware than ever.

While big businesses are taking accessibility seriously, small businesses like yours need to follow their example. Prospective employees with disabilities expect the same opportunities as others. You could be missing out on talented workers if you’re failing to accommodate candidates with disabilities, whether that be by looking to help them ensure themselves via Crest SSD or by making your workspace more open and accessible for them to move about in.

Diversity on a wider scale has been the focus of many businesses looking to remold their organizations to better reflect today’s world. Facing down things like discrimination is a priority for many right now, with gender discrimination still being unsettlingly common in many workplaces. Things like sexual harassment should be called out when it’s detected and not played down. Learn more here about the legal assistance that those who have experienced harassment of this kind can make use of to combat these injustices. The culture is gradually changing, but there’s still work to be done.

Taking Steps in the Right Direction

So, what can you do to get your workplace accessibility right?

Be sensitive to people with disabilities

If any of your employees have disabilities, be aware they may be sensitive about it. Always be considerate of their feelings and concerns when discussing accessibility issues.

Work as a team

Open the floor to your workers and discuss how you can foster a more accessible business, both for employees and customers. Address the needs of people with different disabilities and workshop ideas.

Identify ways in which you can improve your workplace – and keep the dialog going. Whether disabilities are physical or mental, show that you’re happy to address them.

Get educated

It’s vital that you educate yourself and your directors/managers on accessibility in the workplace. You should be able to find local organizations or groups offering training on this topic, helping you spot accessibility flaws and ways to correct them.

Accessibility matters, no matter how small your business. Follow the tips explored above and you can make your growing company a more welcoming place for all. This should be an exciting time for both your business and your employees, so it is important that you are able to accommodate their needs. The same applies for if you’re deciding to expand your business into other countries, as your employees won’t be able to effectively complete their work if they don’t have the relevant access. If your company becomes big enough that you are looking to expand into a different country, then you would need to provide your employees with documents similar to the L-1 Visa so they have the relevant pieces of information that would allow them to start the new business there. It is important that you, as a small business think about all of the possibilities that could arise in the workplace and how to find a way to overcome them.

For further read, go to 5 Common Mistakes People Associate with Accessibility