Is Your Workspace Designed For Inclusivity?
At DSS, we help those who are unable to work file for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provided to U.S. workers is actually paid in part by those workers. There are also programs, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that help those with limited income and resources. So, why are we talking about workplace inclusivity? Well, many of our clients have worked. And given that in the United States 1 in 4 adults have some sort of disability, it is important to consider how your workspace is designed for inclusivity.
It is our belief that inclusivity is important in the workplace. As many companies are learning that many jobs can indeed be remote, companies can also be inclusive. If you are a company or employee looking for better ways to foster an inclusive work environment, we hope this will help get you started.
Where Do You Start?
Great question! It might seem simple but sometimes it’s not as easy as saying your company is inclusive for those with disabilities. There really is a lot to consider. From the recruiting process to the work environment, not every company’s plan to become inclusive looks the same. Our recommendation is to start with your current workforce and then go from there. If you are not sure where to start, ask your employees. Remember, if 25% of adults have some sort of disability, more than likely you have employees that do too. Is there anything that they are missing to perform their duties?
Keep in mind, not all disabilities are visible. Therefore, designing an inclusive work environment does not mean focusing on physical differences alone. In fact, it’s equally important to emphasize different styles of working, special requirements, and needs, as well as mental health. Overall, effective workplace inclusivity is all about the acknowledgment and acceptance of differences.
In turn, this creates an environment in which employees are happier, comfortable, and valued for their unique talents and input. They feel a sense of belonging, rather than feeling restricted. And, happier employees are more productive and more likely to stay at their place of employment. Thus, it’s in the best interest of the company, as well as the employees, to ensure the workspace is inclusive for all.
Ways to Enhance Inclusivity for Disabled Individuals
The inclusion of people with disabilities into the workplace involves practices and policies designed to remove physical and communication barriers. Inclusion means eliminating discrimination, stereotypes, and stigma against people with disabilities. This involves making the physical environment, as well as technology and procedures, more accessible and usable for everyone. According to the CDC, there are lots of ways companies can aid those employees with physical and mental disabilities including:
- Provide ramps, as well as stairs
- Install door handles and openings that are user-friendly, like levers instead of knobs
- Provide ergonomic keyboards and a thorough assessment of workstations and seating
- Create different work area options for those who prefer to work alone and with others
- Provide work stations that accommodate all body types, ages, and disabilities
- Allow employees to adjust features like lighting, temperature, and sun glare in their space
- Implement standing stations for those who prefer it
- Include alarm systems that can be both seen and heard
- Provide meeting tables and counters that can be easily reached by all
These are just a few examples of the ways an organization can foster an environment of inclusivity. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, taking small, cost-effective steps and listening to the needs of your employees may boost productivity while improving morale. The companies that do it best remain flexible to their employees’ needs and actively solicit ideas on how to do it better. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Are You Still Able to Work?
If you are struggling with maintaining a regular work schedule or completing tasks due to your disability, contact us today. You may be eligible for disability benefits. Remember, this is something you pay into over your career through FICA taxes. So, if you aren’t able to work, this isn’t “free money.” There are strict guidelines on applying for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI). That is how we can help. If you are not sure if you qualify, start by filling out our form. Also, contact your primary care physician and discuss this with them. Your doctor(s) are very important to the process. Get the help you need today and let us help.