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Increasing Office Accessibility: Inspiration and Expert Tips

In this guide, Jack Roberts, Senior Technical Surveyor at commercial property consultancy Making Moves, shares his top tips for increasing accessibility in your office.

increasing office accessibility by providing welcome and inclusive workplace

With the government working on new legislation to encourage more disabled individuals to enter or re-enter the workforce, employers must ensure that their offices and equipment are accessible and welcoming to all. Building a more inclusive work environment with adaptable facilities not only benefits disabled employees but also contributes to a more diverse and innovative workplace culture. It may even increase revenue, according to Forbes. 

Check out the Ucan2 article on disability inclusion in the workplace.

If you’re looking for ways to welcome and support more employees with disabilities within your workforce, here I’ll discuss several tips for increasing office accessibility in the UK.

Tips for increasing office accessibility

Begin with a thorough accessibility audit of the office space to identify areas for improvement and prioritise necessary action. Start outside the building — this can help you to ensure that facilities such as ramps, elevators, and accessible restrooms are in place and well-maintained. Ensure that accessible parking spaces are always available and marked clearly. 

increasing office accessibility with woman in wheelchair using a lanyard

Within the office, be proactive in providing helpful accommodations for disabled employees such as ergonomic workstations and equipment. If your work is computer-based, invest in assistive technology to ensure that all digital platforms and communication tools are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Screen readers, voice recognition software, and captioning services can make a significant difference in the accessibility of digital content.

Accessible office inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to accessibility, here are a few examples of famous offices that have successfully implemented adaptable facilities or are accessible to those with disabilities:

  • Microsoft: Microsoft has been recognised for its commitment to accessibility in the workplace. Their offices are equipped with features such as wheelchair ramps, elevators with Braille signage, adjustable desks, and specialised Microsoft software to accommodate employees with various disabilities. The tech giant goes even further, employing multiple specialists to ensure this technology is utilised to the highest standard, both inside the organisation and for their customers across the world. 

  • Google: Google is known for its inclusive workplace culture and accessible office environments. They provide wheelchair-accessible facilities, ergonomic workstations, accessible restrooms, and Google’s own assistive technology for employees with disabilities which includes everything from speech recognition software, right through to Google Assist which has been proven to help people manage sensory triggers.  

  • IBM: IBM has a long history of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including accessibility for employees with disabilities. Their offices feature accessible design elements such as wide doorways, ramps, accessible parking spaces, and inclusive restroom facilities.

  • Apple: Apple considers itself committed to making its workplaces accessible to all employees. Their offices include features such as wheelchair ramps, adjustable-height desks, tactile signage, and assistive technology devices like screen readers and braille displays.

  • Accenture: Accenture is one of the most widely-recognised companies for its efforts to create an inclusive work environment for employees with disabilities. Their offices feature accessible design elements such as automatic doors, accessible parking spaces, and assistive technology tools for employees who are blind or visually impaired.
increasing office accessibility with a spacious work environment

These companies have not only implemented physical accommodations but also fostered inclusive cultures that support employees with disabilities through policies, programs, and resources. By implementing these strategies, employers can start to contribute to a more inclusive work environment. 

Office accessibility is not only a legal, moral, and social imperative, but it can enhance the well-being of all employees. This creates a stronger, more vibrant workplace. The tips and examples above can be used to put together your own accessibility blueprint.

Images courtesy of Adobe Stock Images.

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