Companies all over Singapore - in fact, even some parts of the world, have been working on removing barriers between the abled and the differently-abled. Creating an inclusive workplace that embraces differences and not only values all the employees skills and strengths but also gives employees equal opportunities like their compensation, the benefits, room to grow, learn, and move forward.
Companies are now looking to achieve this equality and respect in workplaces. To be able to work hand-in-hand with differently-abled individuals. But, this requires adapting with a lot of things not just with the people around but also in the workplace environment. Things to consider to achieve inclusion of the differently-abled in workplaces, the decision makers, employers, managers, and/or leaders should sit down and discuss the plans involved. Especially the scope of the inclusion.
These things should be looked into:
Inclusive Workplace Culture - your company may be composed of people with diverse backgrounds, different ethnicity, definitely age, religion, beliefs and views, abled or physically challenged. Human Resource should have an overview of all employed - but all these aspects should be considered in the discussion and leaders should also be examples themselves of how respecting each one is and be able to pass it on to the colleagues. It could be as simple as being supportive to physically challenged colleagues - like running out to get lunch, or adjusting working hours to avoid transportation hurdles.
Assistive Technology - it could be as simple as creating and making training and education for the differently-abled available online should the need to have this option arise (like in cases of unfortunate events) or it could also be customizing a workstation for the employees to perform their jobs, setting up systems that encourages co-existing with physically-challenged officemate/s.
Accessible Environment - the work environment must also be physically accessible, adaptable and flexible day-to-day office equipment. Having these in mind would surely eliminate barriers and allow people to maximize productivity at work and move independently at the same time. For example, having a Wheelchair ramp installed in the office building entrance could already do wonders. Installing a stairlift will also be viable or a vertical platform lift for employees to travel the floors together harmoniously.
Bathrooms should be installed with flexible systems - wash basins could be set-up adjustable and flexible to both abled and physically challenged employees. This could also be helping the company by reducing risks of bathroom accidents aside from allowing the employee to move around independently.
The company’s pantry or kitchen should also be set up flexible - there are kitchen systems that let the user make use of the kitchen fully. Being able to work independently despite being physically-challenged. Kitchen cabinets, table tops, made adjustable and accessible that makes kitchen work much easier than before without needing too much or no assistance at all.
With the support of the company, the management, and the leaders - inclusion in workspaces is completely achievable. These are just a few of the things to be considered in achieving the goal of fair inclusion of everyone in the workplaces.
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