As a business owner, you want to make sure you’re catering to all potential clients and not limiting yourself when it comes to hiring the best employees. To accomplish this task, you need to make sure your business can accommodate the needs of differently abled individuals.
On the long list of things you have to do as a business owner, changing your office space to be ADA-compliant may seem like an expensive and impossible task. However, not only is it something you’re legally obligated to do, but it’s also good business practice. Below are some ways to make your workspace handicap-friendly.
- Gather Information
If you’re hiring employees who are differently abled, you need to educate yourself on their needs and challenges. If they are in a wheelchair, you can probably assume you’ll have to restructure parts of the office, such as cubicles, so they can be comfortable and able to reach the equipment needed to do their job. However, don’t assume you know what all their challenges are. Talk to the employee and find out what accommodations you can make so they can perform their jobs.
You might also have to remodel your business’ bathrooms to make them handicap-accessible. This step might require a professional to assist. In fact, it might be a good investment to hire a professional for all your remodeling needs. Finding an office design professional with experience in creating handicap-friendly workplaces will help you get the job done right.
- Educate Your Other Employees
One of the most successful ways to run a business is to have your employees working as a team. Let everyone know your plans to make the business handicap-friendly. You may also consider having your employees attend training or seminars so they are informed about expectations and how to avoid discrimination. This process shouldn’t be a one-time event, but something that happens periodically, especially when new employees join the team.
- Revise Workplace Policies
Evaluating workplace policies is an important step in making sure procedures, expectations and rules apply to everyone. You may need to change your discrimination policies and add sections that apply specifically to those with disabilities, including training procedures, mentoring classes or workshops. Being informed about disability laws and what is expected of you as an employer will help you modify your policies so they’re inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
- Get the Right Equipment
This step of the process includes making sure differently abled employees or patrons can get into your business. If you have stairs, you might need to add a ramp for access or have parking spaces that are closer to the door. The right equipment might also include getting new furniture to ensure ADA compliance.
Making your business ADA-compliant isn’t just required by law, it’s also good business practice. You don’t want to alienate any potential clients or employees. In addition, making your space handicap-friendly could potentially improve the public’s perception of your business.
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