Making your office handicap accessible for your employees is vital to support a happy workplace environment. It’s important that all employees feel comfortable and are able to complete their jobs without any unnecessary hindrances. Wheelchair users and other people with disabilities affecting their mobility should be able to feel at ease in their work environment.
Making your office handicap accessible does not have to be difficult. A few changes can make a big difference. A key to making your office more accessible to avoid singling out certain employees. Rather, you want to make the office as a whole more accessible.
Do This First
You need to first determine how accessible your office is before you make any changes – which can be difficult if you yourself do not require accessible features. You can survey employees anonymously to give them a safe space to voice their concerns. Some may be hesitant to come forward if you haven’t asked them about this topic, so asking them through a survey is important.
Main Ways to Increase Accessibility
• Doors, especially heavy ones, can be difficult for someone using a wheelchair to open. Consider installing automatic doors that can be opened at the touch of a button. If that is out of the budget, you can install industrial gas springs to make the doors easier to open.
• There should be disabled parking spaces in your parking lot. The spaces should be as close to the entrance as possible, and require a blue badge to park in.
• If your office is in a multi-story building, make sure there is an elevator that employees can easily access. While stairs are great for able-bodied younger people, they can be hard on older employees and practically impossible to navigate for disabled employees.
• Make sure hallways are wide enough to accommodate different types of wheelchairs.
• Don’t forget about the bathroom. If your office does not have a big enough stall, you should consider installing one as soon as you can. If there are a few different bathrooms and only one is accessible, make sure that there is a sign telling people where to go.
• If the main entrance to your building or an entrance to an office space is not accessible, but there is an accessible entrance, make sure a sign is posted. The sign should tell people where to go to enter the building or office space.
• Spend some time with your employees to train them on appropriate interactions with people with disabilities. While your office needs to be physically accessible, your employees will also need to know how to treat people with disabilities.
• Offer employees flex time. This is an accommodation often requested by people with disabilities and is an easy way to help employees to stay healthy.
• People with low vision may have a hard time reading something in small print, so consider using larger print.
• Some employees may have a hard time operating their computer, so you can help them by installing programs to make it easier. Windows, Mac and other operating systems often have these features built in. To supplement these, there are a number of free programs available online.
• Once your office is completely accessible, get the word out. Include it on your website and recruiting materials so that people will know.
Making your office accessible can make your workplace more credible and more welcoming as an employer. You don’t want to miss out on great employee talent because your office is uninviting to people with limited mobility. With these changes, you should be on your way to becoming a friendlier office for all employees.
Boulevard LA specializes in custom, state-of-the-art medical and dental office space in Downtown Los Angeles. They have worked with clients like Quest Diagnostics, USC Fertility and Perinatal and nonprofit community clinics. Because they understand that every practice is unique, they can provide a custom space for your office.