According to Scope
, there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, and 36 million who are registered blind. Disabled people now make up 22% of the UK population, and of those in employment, many cite receiving adjustments
as the most important thing that an employer can do to help them get into and then thrive in their jobs. This could include an employer providing an accessible car parking space near the office entrance for an employee who uses a wheelchair. Or providing magnification software for the systems being used.
, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, states that an employer must look at what they can do to reduce or remove the disadvantage for the person with a disability, of any kind – be it visual, mobility, auditory – such as:
- Changing working arrangements, for example the employee’s working pattern.
- Removing something from the workplace, for example bright lights above the employee’s workstation.
- Providing extra or specialised equipment.
- Getting someone in to help, for example a sign language interpreter.
A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and technology is playing a vital role in tearing down barriers.
Injuries and illnesses happen. And depending on the part of the body affected, day-to-day activities will often be affected, including work. Something as simple as a commute to work can become extremely complicated with torn foot ligament, for example, but it isn’t just about getting to and from work. When at work, problems can often be caused by the way workstations are set up or an inability to stand or sit in the same position for long periods.
Again, employers should take every measure to ensure that any employee with an injury is still able to work. This could include:
Environmental or situational
- Adjusting and altering working hours, maybe flexible start or finish time, or more frequent rest breaks or part-time working.
- Changing the place of work, maybe working from home part of the week.
- Providing special equipment or software.
A key consideration at present is around our working environment. Not only examples such as sunny days making it difficult to see laptop screens, or having to commute for meetings making it hard to hear or concentrate, but cultural differences. In the case of procurement in many organisations, for example, English may not be the primary language, making a set of processes across technologies inaccessible. And as we stated at the very beginning, accessibility is about creating an experience that is inclusive of everyone.