The right support for disabled employees can make a huge difference to their working experience. Improving access in the workplace and reviewing working practices can enable them to excel at their jobs. In many cases these improvements will come at little or no cost.
It is important that disabled workers get support from both in and outside of the workplace. Moral support from family and friends can be critical to helping those with disabilities achieve job places and succeed in their careers. Even everyday tasks can be difficult for those with disabilities and holding down a steady job can be a big challenge. Plenty of moral support at home can really help disabled workers to keep on working and achieving in their lives.
Moral support should also come from within the workplace. It is important that disabled workers feel accepted and integrated in the workplace. With the right guidance and training, managers and colleagues can learn how to support and encourage disabled workers and help include them as part of the team. Disabled workers also may find it beneficial to get some additional training in teamwork and communicating with others in the workplace.
It can be difficult for disabled people to get the formative experience they need to compete in a busy jobs market. Many employers are looking for relevant experience and this can leave some disabled applicants falling behind. Financial assistance can help to support disabled workers whilst they train and gain experience for themselves.
Volunteering in relevant jobs fields can be a good way to gain valuable experience. For example many charities offer volunteer placements in their retail and office spaces. This can help disabled workers to gain valuable experience both in job roles and also working with others. In some cases you may be able to get financial assistance from your family. There are also various government and charity grants available to help disabled workers train and get to into work.
Disabled workers don’t expect to get a ‘free ride’ in the workplace. However it will need to be understood that some leeway may need to be offered in certain circumstances. Disabled workers may find it difficult to complete certain tasks and may need more time for these. However they may be able to make up for this at other times or in other work areas. Studies have shown that this ‘give and take’ approach is highly beneficial to disabled workers and enables them to feel like valued members of the workforce without putting them under too much pressure.
Access to Work
It is important that employers have professional access audits carried out. These audits will highlight areas in which employers may need to improve when it comes to access for physical or sensory disabled people. This includes both visitors to business premises and also workers.
- Access audits will help employers to understand their legal obligations. These audit specialists will also be able to offer practical suggestions for ways to improve access to the workplace.
- It is a good idea for employers to become familiar with any formal support offered to workers such as the UK government backed ‘Access to Work’ scheme.
- This is provided through the Jobcentre Plus and offers a range of support for disabled workers from providing specialist office chairs through to assisting workers in buying computer equipment or devices that they made need to carry out their work.
- Some charities can also offer support for disabled workers. This may be in the form of financial support towards the costs of training and attending interviews or counselling support to help people back to work.
Aki Hashimoto is a writer who believes that disabled access should be a prominent consideration for all employers. By carrying out access audits you should be able to find out where your business can improve to make it more accessible to visitors, customers and employees.
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