The number of individuals who live with a disability globally is above one billion. That will represent 12% of the population in 2022. However, there is still a chronic issue with disability inclusion in the workplace, which affects everything from recruiting procedures to office layouts.
What is a Disability?
Any condition of the body or mind (impairing) that makes it difficult for the person with the condition to undertake specific tasks (activity limitation) and interact with the environment around them is considered a disability, according to the World Health Organization.
A person's vision, learning, memory, hearing, mental health, mobility, and even social connections can all be impacted by a wide range of disabilities. People with disabilities are a varied bunch; no two of them share the same experiences in the same way.
Even two individuals with the same problems may have quite diverse life experiences. On the other hand, a single individual could have several impairments! Some disabilities are obvious, while others are not, and then some are uncommon and that many of us are unaware of.
How Can We Have Inclusivity for Differently-abled People in The Workplace?
According to the social model of disability, societal obstacles may impede persons with disabilities from having full access to employment, healthcare, entertainment, and the arts. But if these obstacles are removed, people can live full, productive lives.
Although it may appear obvious, it is critical to go above and beyond when it comes to those with disabilities. It should be ingrained in the DNA of the company. The CEO, senior leadership, board chair, and staff must all understand the importance of properly integrating people with disabilities.
Websites and all other materials should make it apparent that the organization's vision, purpose, and values include disability inclusion. Every step should intentionally take it into account rather than just assuming it will happen or tacking it on as an afterthought.
The inclusion of all people should be a top priority when creating policies, budgeting, hiring, planning, and staffing. People of all racial origins, ages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, religious backgrounds, and other backgrounds should be accepted, as organisations should constantly and again proclaim.
Acknowledge, Understand, and Embrace
Some impairments are easy to identify because they necessitate the use of a wheelchair or have observable physical characteristics. The majority of impairments, however, are invisible, including those that affect learning, attention, mental health, or chronic pain, and many individuals with invisible disabilities continue to live "in the closet" because of stigma. Disability affects every demographic group, including gender, age, race, and sexual orientation, and the majority of people experience it at some point in their lives due to an accident, disease, or ageing.
Make Differently-abled People at the Workplace Part of the Solution
People with disabilities deserve a place at the table and are prepared to contribute their lived experiences to problem-solving. Regarding disability inclusion, people with impairments have significant knowledge and experience to impart (as well as to every other issue apart from disability). Individuals with disabilities should be included in working on issues that affect them, just like when groups tackle problems affecting people from various racial, ethnic, or other backgrounds.
Also Read: Why Employees Prefer Hybrid Work Model Over Traditional Work Model
Recognise the Talent
Most people with disabilities are seen as nice and kind, but not always competent. However, some extraordinarily talented people have limitations. After all, Steven Hawking had ALS, Selena Gomez has lupus, Richard Branson is dyslexic, and Beethoven was deaf. Harriet Tubman also suffered from epilepsy. Many of history's most prominent, well-liked, and influential figures had infirmities.
Make Your Workspace Inclusive in Everyway
Modernizing facilities is necessary to accommodate people with impairments. Ramps, wider entrances, accessible restrooms, and automatic door openers for the main office are all crucial improvements.
Recognize the Function of Personal Care Aides
Some people may require the assistance of a personal care assistant to eat, talk, use the restroom, or perform other tasks. The purpose of their visit is not to engage in conversation with friends or coworkers.
They can "assist and fade" so that those with impairments can find employment or acquire new relationships. Aides only take part in encounters when instructed to do so by the person they are helping.
Also Read: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Meaning, Difference, and Benefits
Make it Obvious that Your Policies are Inclusive
Promote the measures you are taking to include more people with impairments. Your websites and social media profiles should be transparent about how significant, deliberate, and continuing your efforts are.
Take into account how the images and stories you offer, the activities you publicise, and the language you employ convey that individuals with disabilities are welcomed, appreciated and included. Social media and websites are essential tools for disseminating an organization's mission and services.
Everyone is Responsible Towards Inclusion
There are several strategies to encourage inclusivity at work. Smart enterprises have already begun, and as a consequence, they are enjoying more prosperous and long-lasting operations.
Many of these talk about their experiences with other businesses so that other businesses might also grow in diversity. Non-business stakeholders can also play a part in fostering an atmosphere that is more welcoming to people with disabilities. After all, everyone must contribute to make the workplace more diverse.