The pandemic era has been a life-changing one. In fact, it has completely changed the way of life. Since we were unable to step outside due to the pandemic, we switched to the online mode of existence. From getting groceries to consulting doctors, everything was made available online. Moreover, schools, colleges and workplaces also shifted to work-from-home mode.
Even now, when the pandemic seems to be over, we are still into our ‘new-normal’ life. In fact, even now, many aspects of our living remain largely dependent on the virtual medium. Therefore, the greatest challenge faced by companies and workplaces during this period is to find ways to work together. This challenge has also made us aware that the virtual world is not enough to include people with disabilities. To these people, most of the tools and online programs remain largely inaccessible. Therefore, we have been looking for ways to make the digital world more accessible to people with disabilities.
It is true that working from home allowed people with disabilities to work in a comfortable environment, which an office might not have provided. However, in many cases, the programs, platforms and devices which they use are not always inclusive. Therefore, as we draw nearer to returning to our normal life, the companies and workplaces must revisit their current workplace accessibility and disability inclusion planning.
Recently, Eve Andersson, the senior director of Product Inclusion, Equity, and Accessibility
of Google, suggested some ways that will help to build a more inclusive work environment in the workplaces. Read the article to know about the suggestions.
Including Inclusive Accommodations and Accessibility Best Practices
Eve Andersson suggested that with the growing popularity of remote working, employers can hire people from even distant places. In fact, this means that the number of employees will also increase. Therefore, remote working also makes sure that people with disabilities will be able to work from their homes, where they have a comfortable environment.
However, now we are slowly making our return to workplaces. Eve claims that Google has made various arrangements to provide its employees with a comfortable environment. As per Eve, they have “ implemented global guidance on best practices, office design experiments, and more to make the future of work more accessible”. Moreover, they have also started developing a room with a ‘controlled sensory environment’. This will allow the employees to control the temperature, lighting, and noise level within the room. Eve also suggests that such rooms will provide the employees at Google with a favourable environment.
In addition, Eve also suggests that the interview stage has to be replanned. In fact, people with disabilities have different forms of disabilities. Therefore, Eve suggests that the employers should ask the candidate what type of accommodation would make them comfortable.
Building A Culture of Inclusion
It is very essential as per Eve, that the employers must ensure that the employees at the workplace know how to build an inclusive culture. In fact, the employees, especially the managers must be provided accessibility training. This will make them aware of how to do their job in an inclusive manner.
Moreover, Eve clarifies that accessibility might include scheduling the meetings well in advance and asking the employees about their accommodation preferences. In addition, Eve also suggests that during meetings the lips of the presenters should be zoomed in. In fact, this will enable people with hearing disabilities to understand the proceeding. This will help in building an inclusive culture in the workplace.
Therefore, Eve Anderson has suggested some practical ways that would help employers to make the workplace more inclusive. Moreover, Eve also suggests amplifying the voices of people with disabilities. This will in turn make them feel accepted and included. In addition, Eve also suggests that the employees who are willing to work on accessibility programs and initiatives should be empowered to do so.
In fact, all these, are a few small steps that will help us to develop an inclusive culture in the workplace. Moreover, these will also enable us to work together.