Approximately 1 in 5 people in the UK live with a disability – a figure that equates to around 13.3 million. This is equal to 18% of the working age population, which means it is essential to provide support for disabled people in the workplace.

As stated in The Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. But what does this mean in practice? And what kind of things should you, as a business owner, be implementing? Here are some examples and information to help you provide the right level of support.

Be Supportive

When speaking to staff, it is important to remember that they are not their disability. As an employer, you must focus on a person’s skills and get to know them as an individual. Acting in a supportive and relaxed manner will help you to foster an open relationship, whereby the employee is confident enough to speak up and ask for help. It could also help them to be more productive and feel happier.

Alter Communication

Everyone prefers different communication and learning methods. As an employer, you must consider this when talking to disabled staff. Every disabled person is individual, so discuss which methods of communication they respond best to. They may be a visual learner, prefer something written down so they can refer to it at a later stage, or appreciate a face-to-face conversation.

No Assumptions

You may make assumptions based on an employee’s disability, but this can be very harmful. It could lead you to over or underestimate their abilities, which could knock self-esteem, making them unhappy in the workplace, and even resulting in work-related stress or chronic illness. Make no assumptions, speak to them about their responsibilities and encourage an open dialogue with disabled employees.

Workplace Adjustments

In terms of what physical changes you can make to really help a disabled employee, there are lots of workplace adjustments you can – and should – consider. This may include a different desk or workstation, an allocated parking spot close to the building for their Allied Mobility wheelchair accessible car, specialist equipment, altered working hours, or additional breaks.

Part of the Team

Although it is vital to make adjustments for disabled employees, it is equally important to make them feel like part of the team. This means providing feedback, ensuring there are equal opportunities and working to ensure their integration. While different approaches may be necessary, disabled staff should feel like they are part of a collaborative team and treated as such.

With millions of disabled people in the UK, your company must have procedures and steps in place to support disabled employees. These tips will help you to assist disabled workers, and make sure that they feel happy, valued and supported in the workplace.

Published by Alex Hales