Learn the top 5 benefits of accessibility and inclusion in workplaces and why all companies should make their offices accessible.
Everyone deserves equal work and hiring opportunities, which is why creating inclusive workplaces is so important for business owners. When our buildings and company cultures are accessible, customers and employees benefit along with surrounding communities.
Accessibility & Inclusion in the Workplace
Many people have experienced barriers at work due to inaccessible spaces and employers’ lack of education on inclusivity. But this needs to become a thing of the past.
One way to create a more inclusive culture is to celebrate diversity at work. Everyone you hire has individual differences, such as gender, age and ethnicity; but we should also appreciate different life experiences, different ways our bodies move around, and the different ways we think.
Cognitive and physical disabilities are one aspect of diversity that may or may not be visible to others, ranging from neurodivergence or vision disabilities to chronic pain, immune compromise, mental illnesses and more. People living with invisible disabilities can face the same barriers as those with visible disabilities, but are more often questioned or denied accommodations.
Most accommodations can be simple to incorporate into your workplace. This could be remote work options, flexibility for hours, or special leave for medical appointments. The best case is simply asking what would work best for your employee.
One other key inclusive practice is renovating your workplace to help everyone enter and use the space easily. There are plenty of options, including designating parking spots for people with disabilities, installing ramps by the entrance, and widening doorways for wheelchair users—just to name a few. Many of these modifications can be finished on the same day and don’t require major remodelling so your work isn’t disrupted.
BuildAble co-founder Sean MacGuiness talks about the importance of accessible workplaces - including ours.
The Advantages of Accessible Work Environments
Reach More Customers
Whether your business is open to the public or operates in a private office, it’s safe to say most companies interact with customers regularly. And since more than 1 in 5 Canadians have a disability, it’s essential to create an accessible space where all customers can access your services. According to the CEO and founder of Return on Disability, Rich Donovan, opening your business doors to individuals living with a disability is a $55-Billion untapped market in Canada. But aside from potential sales, accessibility is a human right. No one should be denied access to your business for living with a disability - especially when the changes to increase access can be so simple.
Implementing accessible policies and practices, such as employee accommodations and flexible schedules, shows that your organization values diversity and inclusion. And a supportive culture is typically a creative one.
Providing a safe environment for employees to share their different perspectives and speak openly naturally leads to better problem-solving, which helps drive the company forward. Research also shows that diverse teams are six times more likely to be innovative in the face of market changes due to their range of experiences.
Access a Larger Talent Pool
According to recent studies, only 59% of people living with a disability in Canada are employed. Many of these job seekers are fully qualified for open positions, yet have trouble finding open-minded businesses to join.
With these striking numbers in mind, we can see there’s an untapped part of the labour market with skills and unique perspectives to bring to the table. Creating an accessible work environment enables your business to widen its talent pool and find the best candidates. Employees who have faced accessibility barriers in the past may also offer insights into product or service improvements to better serve customers with similar experiences.
Attract the Right Team
Modifying your workplace not only benefits the surrounding community but improves your business’s reputation. Potential talent who also value inclusivity or need accessibility accommodations will see your organization as a great place to work. Over time, you’ll end up with a team that fits your company culture and attracts similar-minded people. Also, out of all job seekers, 70% look for employers with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, so there’s no better time to improve your accessibility standards.
With all these benefits in mind, are you ready to create a more inclusive workplace? Our team at BuildAble includes accessibility remodelling experts who can help renovate your commercial space, from doorway widening to ramp installations and wheelchair-friendly bathrooms. Contact us for a quote if you’re in Ottawa, Ontario—we’d love to help!