UK: Why reasonable adjustments for disabled workers usually benefit your whole workforce
When kitting out an office to suit all physical needs, there is the assumption that this will involve purchasing ‘specialist’ equipment, which is not only expensive, it is often not in-keeping with the overall office décor. For this reason, many office managers tend to bury their heads in the sand, adhering only to the strictest disability requirement laws, such as disabled toilets, designated parking and adaptable access.
As a result, many offices are simply not equipped for a disabled worker to start working there without any adjustments, as highlighted in this survey carried out by CMD in partnership with Shaw Trust, the national charity for helping disabled workers find employment in the UK. The survey found that there are several measures that would need to be put into place before a disabled worker could start work in the majority of offices – however, most of the changes required would not cost much and would often benefit all employees, not just those with a disability.
If it’s not broken, why fix it?
In many cases, working conditions are less than ideal for disabled employees, even once they are employed.
Often, they are expected to put up with substandard working environments that technically tick the legal boxes but don’t take overall comfort into consideration. However, a lot of the factors which would make a disabled employee uncomfortable are equally applicable to other staff.
Not providing these adjustments is not only unpleasant for the employee, it can also have a negative impact on the company for a number of reasons, including:
Poor ergonomics can accentuate physical discomfort, potentially resulting in the employee taking time off sick; thus costing the company money in both sick pay and temporary employment cover.
Additional discomfort due to ‘make do’ working conditions will undoubtedly have a negative effect on staff retention. This will incur additional recruitment fees, not to mention the subsequent training involved with a high staff turn-over.
Companies that aren’t disability-friendly will immediately be limiting their recruitment opportunities, cutting out a high proportion of highly qualified and experienced recruits.
There is also the very real fact that companies who aren’t seen to cater for employees of all physical abilities are perceived as being backwards thinking, which could result in a negative reputation when trying to recruit new staff and attract new clients.
Read: the full article at HR News
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