If you work on or manage a team where one or more of the team members has a disability, it can often be quite challenging to work out how best to support them during their working day. However, supporting a disabled colleague doesn’t have to be tough – sometimes the best way to go about it is to simply ask them if you can support them in any way and take it from there – after all, they know their own needs best. If you’re in charge, however, it’s down to you to make sure that the workplace is accessible for your disabled workers and ensure that any necessary adjustments are made. We’ve put together a list of top tips on how you can best support disabled people in the workplace.
When it comes to work, disabled people must be able to access their place of work safely and comfortably. For example, if there are three flights of stairs to be climbed in order to get to the office, a wheelchair user is going to have a hard time accessing the office unless an elevator is installed. Things such as wheelchair ramps, a designated disabled parking space, and even providing specially colored paper and pens for employees who have dyslexia are all needed in a workplace that has disabled staff.
As with all of your staff, it’s important that you lend a listening ear whenever a disabled member of staff feels that they need to speak to you. If a member of staff reports bullying or discrimination because of their disability, it is important that you give them the support that they need and ensure that the individual who is responsible for the bullying or discrimination is dealt with accordingly. If an employee is reluctant to talk with you about such an issue then you must ensure that they are confident that anything they say will be kept confidential. When it comes to sick time, disabled people may need more time off than most, so it’s important to be understanding and empathetic to their needs.
If members of staff have never worked with a disabled person before, they may need some training on equality and diversity laws and legislation as well as support working alongside a disabled person if needed. Although most people do not have any issues working with a disabled colleague, some may be unaware of certain equality and diversity guidelines and could do or say something that is meant well but upsets their colleague. For this reason, it’s important that you regularly train and update your staff on equality and diversity as well as disabled people in the workplace. Each member of staff should be aware of and uphold your company’s equality and diversity policy, and senior staff should always set the best example.
Are you a disabled worker? How does your workplace make sure that you are a valued and appreciated member of the team? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.