I have a member of staff who has mobility problems. What can I do?
Tuesday, April 19, 2011/
I have a member of staff who has mobility problems. Is there anything I can do, that won’t cost me a huge amount of money, to make my office more accessible?
Accessibility should be a key concern for any employer when deciding where to locate your business.
In my own experience, the initial choice of location and in particular the building itself is the best way to ensure your workplace can accommodate all.
That said – there are two main issues to consider when selecting and adapting where you work so that your office environment can be accessible.
The first consideration is access to the building and the office itself. Are you nearby public transport such as buses and trains, is there convenient parking with spaces set aside for mobility impaired drivers?
Hopefully, the entrance and reception of your building has been designed or modified to make it easily accessible, and this should be the case in most if not all buildings in Australia.
The suitability of each location varies, even in our own network where buildings such as The Ark and Darling Park in Sydney or 120 Collins Street stand out for putting accessibility into the heart of how they were built and managed.
Obviously being in a modern building with a lift and the requisite facilities is far more preferable to being in a third-floor walk-up in an older building, but given that your staff member is already on board we will assume that this is not the case for you.
Once access has been taken care of, the second issue is more practical – the design and layout of your office and the employees workspace itself.
There really is no easy fix for this, as each case will depend on each worker’s particular needs and requirements. It is a question of commonsense, of small changes to make everyone’s life easier.
Can you rearrange desks to reduce the number of steps that particular worker needs to navigate in their daily routine?
Can a clear up of old documents and unused materials or unnecessary furniture help create some much needed extra space?
While they may seem minor, these changes can make your space more people friendly for all your team members.
As with any workplace measure, thinking about accessibility at the selection and design phase avoids costly improvements later on.
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