People with disabilities are more competent and talented than you may believe. Hiring disabled people is a good deed that will help them build confidence in their capabilities. Impairment is an essential part of a diverse society.
Hiring more diverse workers benefits the economy by increasing productivity and decreasing spending on disability-related government aid.
Unfortunately, being aware of these issues does not necessarily imply that employers or their disabled employees understand how to create a workspace that is truly welcoming to disabled people daily.
Aside from good intentions and administrative competence, employers can assist in making workspaces more welcoming and productive for employees with disabilities as a part of disability employment services. Before we discuss things to make the workspace more welcoming for disabled employees, let’s discuss more DES.
What do Disability Employment Services entail? (DES)
People with disabilities can access Disability Employment Services to help them find work.
You will have access to the Disability Management Service or the Employment Support Service, depending on the level of assistance you require. A disability assessment will determine this to ensure you receive the appropriate level of support.
Once you are a qualified company offering, DES will sit with you to understand your goals so that they can find an employer that meets your needs. Together they plan to set your career on the right path with the right job.
Companies also go the extra mile and continue to assist you and your employer. This notion helps both parties to understand the new workspace, making them feel settled and creating a win-win situation for both.
Below are the six tips to make the workspace more welcomed for disabled people:
1. Avoid using ableist language
When it comes to language, disability awareness campaigns tend to focus on which terms should and should not be used to refer to disabled people. In some ways, the solution is simple: use the terminology that each disabled person prefers for themselves. The next, probably more profound, step is to reduce the use of relatively trivial but corrosive labels and adjectives we use without thinking every day. As an example:
• Dumb, stupid, moron
• Crazy, out of your mind, insane
2. Learn to recognize and reinterpret disabilities-related behaviors and communication styles
Disabilities, both visible and invisible, can sometimes affect how we appear to others. As an example:
People with mobility issues using wheelchairs or crutches are frequently perceived as “too slow” and “in the way.”
Managers and workmates should consider how a disabled employee’s disability may impact their interactions before dismissing them as awkward, rude, or “not fitting in.”
3. Do not make impairment jokes, even if a disabled worker says it is acceptable
Tolerating or encouraging jokes about disabilities in the workspace is never a good idea. Any particular joke, like insulting words, may be harmless. Even if they don’t take offence immediately, they can develop an increasingly hostile and demoralizing environment for disabled workers over time and repetition.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to remember that disabled people are frequently under social pressure to “go along with” and be “cool with” jokes about them.
4. Ensure that all formal and informal company events are accessible
Remember to encourage disabled employees to participate in social events. But there are many other ways to exclude them if you need to be more careful. In general, avoid venues with stairs, inaccessible restrooms, long walks to reach there, or a lack of places to sit and rest. Employee social events should also be announced in advance so that disabled workers can organize transportation and other support needed to participate.
5. Allow each disabled employee to determine the conditions of their own anonymity and/or disclosure with other employees
Different disabilities necessitate varying degrees of confidentiality and disclosure. With many exceptions, mental disorders and intellectual disabilities are stigmatized more than physical and sensory difficulties. The key is to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of an employee’s disability, ultimately leaving disclosure decisions up to each individual.
6. Deal with gossip and insulting comments about employees’ disabilities right away
There is no tolerable space for fellow employees or managers to mock a disabled employee, especially in public, if it is because of their disability. Discriminatory remarks that are “harmless” or “all in good fun” must be stopped immediately. You don’t have to be harsh about it, but you can’t ignore it or wait for it to worsen.
As a part of disabled employment services, paying attention to these habits can mean the difference between simply not discriminating against disabled people and providing them with the physical and emotional space they need to excel. This can add maximum value to the organizations for which they work.