Read our blog for more information on accessibility in the workplace

  • 81% of 18-24 year olds want to work in an inclusive workplace

  • 27% of workplaces have no wheelchair access

  • Unemployment for disabled people is at 8.4%

In the UK, its estimated that 8.4 million people of working age are disabled, however unemployment rates for disabled people (those who are able to work) stands at 8.4%, as opposed to 4.6% for non-disabled people. A major barrier to employment is accessibility in the workplace. So why is accessibility in the workplace so important and how can you promote it?

What employees are looking for in a workplace is changing massively. A recent survey by the Penketh Group in collaboration with YouGov found that 59% of people would leave a job due to lack of inclusivity and 81% of 18-24 year olds actively look to work for an inclusive company.

But accessibility doesn’t just mean physical changes, such as wheelchair ramps and lifts – there are different kinds of accessibility in the workplace.

For example, 1 in 10 people is thought to be neurodiverse (that is conditions such as autism, dyslexia, anxiety, personality disorders or ADHD) and 33% of people surveyed said their workplace wasn’t sensitive to these issues – quite shocking considering 13% of all absence in the workplace is as a result of some kind of mental health problem.

What can you do to help? Consider your facilities – are there places where employees can go for some down time or to get away from technology? Meditation rooms, rejuvenation spaces, technology free spaces, even prayer rooms are becoming more and more common place in workspaces.

How positive is your culture in general? Its estimated that for every negative person, you need 3 positive people to balance them out!

In terms of physical adjustments, 27% of workplaces in the UK are lacking wheelchair access and 33% lack ergonomic furniture. Using chairs that adapt to the body, multi-height work spaces and different work settings throughout the day to adjust posture are all things you could consider. Also think about adaptations such as sensor activated doors, multi-height storage, power at different heights, free standing laptop tables or tables with centred legs.

There’s also other things to consider within accessibility in the workplace – gender neutral toilets, space for expressing milk for breast feeding mothers, prayer rooms and training in new technology all help to make the workspace accessible for some. 31% of workers aged 55+ felt they were excluded from work due to lack of training in new technologies!

Educating employees is also crucial – small things like pushing in chairs after meetings, reserving seats near the front for those hard of hearing and sending out slides in accessible formats are all important.

Accessibility and inclusion starts from recruitment – where do you advertise? are your fonts easy to read? do you offer alternative methods of application for those who can’t fill out a paper application form?

What’s clear is that inclusivity is becoming more important to the future job market than healthcare so you need to start creating a culture that focuses on wellbeing.

Do you have questions about accessibility in the workplace?

Give us a call at CUBE HR, we’ll be happy to advise you and we have policies and templates available to meet every HR need.

Why not check out our other blog on the same topic Equality in the Workplace – 3 Things You Need to Know

You can also watch a range of other videos on our YouTube channel