Now that most schools and universities are closing for the summer and students are kicking off their summer vacations, it is an opportunity to find a job, gain skills and save money for the following year. This summer is essentially different from the previous one, as provinces look ahead to easing COVID-19 restrictions over the coming months, more people are getting vaccinated, and businesses are restarting, more hiring and employment opportunities are expected.
Most high school and post-secondary students are now applying for part-time or full-time careers or already have found a new compatible job. Among this population of job seekers are students with disabilities who require particular accommodation and support to find a job and fundamentally are looking for accessible work options.
But how much do you, as an employer, think about solutions to create a diverse and inclusive workplace? How much are you interested in offering jobs for students with disabilities? Do you know how to create an accessible workplace for someone with a disability?
The type of changes you’ll need to make to increase workspace accessibility is entirely dependent on your new hire’s disability. Hearing, vision, mobility, or cognitive impairment, for example, all require different tools, devices, and workspace conditions. Employers need to modify the three most common areas when hiring an employee with a disability: their computer, office furniture, and overall workspace.
You can help accommodate someone’s disability by purchasing software and tools that will assist their computer use. Sometimes merely adjusting the computer’s control settings is sufficient. These additions—big or small—will help your new employee complete their projects effectively and efficiently.
Accommodating the workplace with the proper selection of furniture
Everyone modifies their workspace to suit their needs and comfort, and we all know that even adjusting the height of your office chair can significantly impact your productivity.
Having the ability to change the monitor height, desk position, or office chair style is a good start, but knowing what type of disability your employee has is helpful when preparing a cubicle or office for them.
For instance, if the person you hired is in a wheelchair, they might not need an office chair but will likely need the ability to adjust their computer monitor and desk to an appropriate height. Alternatively, a person with an assistive cane or visual impairment may need a sturdy chair with no wheels to help them sit without having the chair move.
Overall, choosing the right furniture is crucial and can help your new employee perform their tasks to the best of their ability. To ensure you meet someone’s needs, ask them what they need to make their work easier.
Inclusive workplace for all
you may also need to make changes inside your new employee’s office or even to any common areas in your workplace. In other words, consider the physical accessibility of your entire office space.
Start by asking yourself if things like copiers, plug outlets, fire alarms, coffee makers, and microwaves are reachable and usable or if entrances are an appropriate width. You may need to construct a ramp for someone in a wheelchair or remove hanging plants and protruding wall signs for a person who is visually impaired.
On the whole, you’ll need to check whether all the places your employee will need to go, like the bathroom or the lunchroom, are accessible and practical. Changes to a workspace may not be obvious at first but are imperative to accommodate an employee with a disability.
In conclusion, it is worth to remind that hiring employees with disability, improve productivity and efficiency; in this regard, you need to create a welcoming and accommodate work area for these new hirings. Summer is already started! Be the one who takes significant steps to offer accessible job opportunities to students with disabilities.