4 Steps Businesses Can Take to Make Special Needs Employees Feel Included

4 Steps Businesses Can Take to Make Special Needs Employees Feel Included

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Many companies employ individuals with a disability. While these individuals may be treated just as any other employee in your organization may be treated, some simply do not feel welcome or comfortable in the space. These may be valued additions to your team, and you understandably want to create a wonderful environment that everyone can feel comfortable in. These factors may help you to improve your work environment and overall employee satisfaction.

Make the Breakroom Features Accessible

Many disabled individuals are in wheelchairs or have other mobility challenges. The breakroom should be a comfortable, relaxing space for everyone. All individuals should be able to access the fridge, freezer, coffeemaker, sink, microwave and other features. Your kitchen area may need to be renovated with disabled individuals in mind. When you speak with your disabled employees, they may have great suggestions for renovations that would benefit them.

Focus on Bathroom Improvements

Likewise, the bathroom facilities should be equally easy to use for all members of your team. You may need to widen doors or enlarge bathroom stalls so that wheelchairs or walkers can get into the space easily. Lowering soap dispensers and paper towel holders and adding rails around the toilet may also be beneficial. Remember that all bathroom features should be designed with disabilities in mind so that your workers can easily take care of their private business independently.

Improve Exterior Accessibility

The exterior of your office or workspace may also need adjustments. For example, you may need to create a concrete ramp partially over your current stairway. This should have a gentle incline and rails so that those who have mobility issues can more easily get in and out of your workplace. The entire space from your handicap parking area to your front door and beyond should be easy for everyone to navigate. You should also consider having the sidewalks and walkways surrounding the building redone with the help of concrete cutting specialists if they are in bad enough shape that they’d become an obstacle for certain individuals.

Choose Appropriate Team Building Activities

While the office space should be renovated with disabled individuals in mind, activities that you plan should also be designed so that everyone can participate. For example, a team building ropes course is not ideal for disabled individuals. However, a game night or happy hour may be a wonderful idea to consider if you want to get your team together after hours for socialization.

Disabled workers can be a true asset to your organization, and the last thing you may want is for these individuals to feel unwelcome or even stressed in your work environment. Focus your attention on these points, and consider asking your workers for other recommendations that are specific to your unique space.

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