Accessibility Tools Every Office Should Have

Making your office accessible is crucial. Doing so will allow you to entice a wider workforce to your banner while enabling easy and comfortable access for visiting clients and members of the public. Further, an accessible workspace will heighten the public’s perception of your office, making you a business other companies want to work with.

If you’re researching ways to make your office space more accessible, first, it’s important to remember that not every disability is visible. In fact, around 10% of Americans are living with an invisible disability. Making accommodations for these team members may include offering an open-door policy and flexible work times and providing training that suits different learning styles. Often those with an invisible disability feel isolated or worry about discrimination — by opening these channels, you’re taking steps towards creating a comfortable and safe workspace.

Similarly, when you’re making accommodations for individuals with mobility challenges, it’s key to reiterate the importance of open dialogue while reinforcing your appreciation of feedback and suggestion.

Here are a few tangible tools you should procure when creating an accessible workplace.

Tools for Steps and Multi-Level Buildings

If you have a short flight of steps in your office, it’s advised to secure a permanent or temporary ramp which can easily be put in place. Some cities offer partnerships with local disability groups, meaning you could receive a ramp for free or at a reduced cost.

Securing evacuation chairs for multi-leveled properties is also strongly advised (and, in some cases, it may be a legal requirement). These chairs allow for the safe evacuation of individuals with mobility challenges in an emergency.

If you’re seeking office space, buildings with escalators or elevators are worth a second look.

Automatic Doors

The installation of automatic doors is hugely beneficial for people in wheelchairs, those using a walker, individuals who are temporarily using crutches and parents pushing strollers. 

Multi-Tiered Counters

If your office has a kitchenette, install shorter countertops, approximately 31”–34” in height. This will make the space practical for individuals who use wheelchairs. 

Bathroom Tools

Making a bathroom safe for people with mobility issues is crucial — even if there’s nobody on staff with visible mobility challenges. Preparing for clients and members of the public shows your company’s desire to create an inclusive workspace. 

Considerations for bathrooms may include:

  • Rails in key locations.
  • Motion lights. If you switch off lights in the evening, these are also advised in other areas of the office.
  • Automatic faucets and paper towel distributors.
  • An accessible toilet.
  • A push button in case of emergency.

Bathrooms should also offer a T-shaped turning space of 94” to accommodate those in electric wheelchairs.

Also Read : 5 Exciting Hanging Chair Decor Ideas

Offer a Budget

For full-time employees who need additional accessibility tools, consider offering a personal allowance. People with vision impairments may require task lighting, for example. Empowering your team members to create a workspace that they feel safe in will make them feel seen, valued, and comfortable.

Lastly, ensure that aisle ways and the spacing between doorways and office desks are sufficient — around 36” is advised. Reiterate the importance of keeping these areas clear with no obstructions(such as cables, mats, garbage cans or backpacks). Doing so will keep the space practical and safe for those using wheelchairs or walkers, and those who are visually impaired.

If you’re starting from square one in your mission to create an accessible office space, it can take some time. But know that your team members will appreciate you taking these steps, and so will visiting clients.