Making sure that your office is accessible for all who work there is important. Today, it’s vital that workplaces ensure that the work environment is comfortable and easy to manoeuvre around for all employees, including not only able-bodied employees, but wheelchair users and other workers who may suffer from a physical disability. Rather than single these employees out, the best thing to do is to make the whole office as accessible as possible.
Failing to offer disabled access could not only damage your credibility and reputation as an employer, you could also lose out on the opportunity to employ some great individuals.
1. Disabled Parking
If your office has a car park, the first thing that you need to do is ensure that there is ample parking space for any Blue Badge holders. Ideally, these spaces should be as close as possible to the entrance of the building, provide extra room in between cars, and ensure they are clearly marked as reserved for Blue Badge parking only.
2. Top Floor Access
If your office has a span of over more than just one floor or is on a higher floor in a multi-storey building, it’s important to make sure that all of your employees can access it easily.
Stairs might be a great option for able-bodied, younger employees – but think about any employees you have who are older or disabled – climbing a few flights of stairs to get to work probably isn’t something they’d enjoy. Making sure that there is ample disabled access to higher floors for instance by installing a lift, is important.
Does your office building have heavy fire doors? If you can’t image the office doors being easy for a wheelchair user to open, it might be time to make a change.
Automatic doors are a great option as they don’t require any physical exertion to open or close. If automatic doors aren’t in the budget, you might want to consider doors which are fitted with industrial gas springs to make them easier to open and close.
The bathrooms in your office might be an area that’s overlooked easily when it comes to making sure that you have ample disabled access. However, if you only provide the regular-sized bathrooms for males and females, you’re making it difficult for any employees who are wheelchair users to do something as simple as use the bathroom during the working day.
Make sure that you offer a larger, disabled bathroom for any employees who may need it.
5. Determining Accessibility
If you yourself don’t require the use of accessible services in the office, it can be difficult to determine how accessible your workplace really is. Maybe your employees haven’t said anything, but if you haven’t asked them, they may not feel at liberty to voice their concerns.
Conducting a survey of all employees regarding accessibility levels in the office is a great way to help you get an idea of what needs to be changed to ensure your office is a comfortable place to work for all.
How important is accessibility at work to you? Let us know in the comments.