Originally posted on http://www.womenslifelink.com/5-musts-to-make-your-business-disability-friendly/
As the world becomes more inclusive and makes an effort to create a better life for everyone, businesses are catering to customers and employees with disabilities. In some cases, this even goes above and beyond what the law states is necessary for compliance. I recommend making any changes and concessions needed to make your business disability-friendly. Here are a few of the ways you can help make things safe and comfortable for everyone.
Wheelchair and Walker Access
Adding ramps in the parking lot and automatic door openers is a must for most larger buildings and businesses that get public traffic on a daily basis. These include government buildings, libraries, schools, groceries, medical facilities, and many more. Though some of these types of accommodations aren’t possible for some smaller businesses that operate from homes or small spaces, they still can be aware of how to make access easier.
If your premises has stairs, try to add in a ramp or a lift if space allows for it. Try to keep your interior aisles clear and wide enough for wheelchairs or walkers to pass easily. Do also consider your restrooms and other spaces that people will need to go. Providing wheelchair access isn’t always easy, especially with older buildings, but it can be a legal requirement. Find more information about how to accommodate the disabled on this site.
Use Adjustable Desks
For a standard office, height adjustable desks could make a big difference for disabled employees, as well as everyone. These can be lowered for those who are in wheelchairs. These desks are growing in popularity not just because they make life easier for disabled people, but because they allow customizable adjustment for all employees, which can be more ergonomic. Such desks may even allow able-bodied employees the option of standing up as they work, helping to change the idea of an office being solely a sedentary environment.
Keep Electrical Sockets and Ports Accessible
Nobody likes having to crawl under a desk to reach an electrical socket or computer ports, but for those with disabilities, it can be impossible. If you have disabled employees, keeping sockets and computers accessible is a must. Even if you find that rewiring plug sockets or rearranging your office is necessary to make this happen, I recommend that you do it. However, you should be able to use extension cords and power strips to bring things up to desk level. This isn’t such a bad idea, anyway, considering cords and computers can get kicked and sustain damage when they are under desks.
Check that Your Website is ADA Compliant
Modern company websites must also meet certain criteria under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A few requirements include a clear contrast ratio (for those that are colorblind), closed captions on videos (for those who are deaf) and no sudden pop-ups/changes (for those with epilepsy). This article explains some of the measures required for compliance. Many of these measures not only help a site to be accessible to those with disabilities but also make sites more comfortable and accessible to all visitors in general. A web designer may be able to help you make the necessary changes.
Use Inclusive Packaging
There’s also a growing demand for more inclusive packaging. This includes easy-open mechanisms that are peelable or pop open with a switch, as well as salient color usage. However, inclusive packaging can come with challenges. Some easy-open mechanisms can actually compromise a product’s integrity, security, and sturdiness. You should talk to a packaging designer and printing professional about what they recommend based on your specific product(s).
These are just several ways you can make your business disability-friendly. First, do follow all of the laws set forth in your state or country. I also recommend that you simply consider the needs of others who have disabilities. Having accommodations in place before you need them shows that you have compassion and care about others. Not only that, but it proves that you really are an equal opportunity employer. Your employees and customers will appreciate your willingness to go the extra mile to bring safety and comfort to others.