How to Leverage Tech to Make Your Business More Accessible
When people think about making a workplace more accessible, their first thoughts understandably turn to ramps, lifts and automatic doors. However, disabilities go far beyond the physical, and the effect that any disability has on a person’s working life amounts to much more than how easily they can navigate the office space.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a small collection of tech that can help you ensure your business is as open and accessible to those with disabilities as it can be.
According to the International Labour Organization, disabled people are two times less likely to be hired than non-disabled people. This is due to a combination of the lack of accessibility in the hiring process and a set of biases that prevent employers from giving disabled people due consideration.
Both these issues can be resolved, at least in part, by tech. AI tools are able to analyse the language of your job ads to determine whether the language is accessible, whereas anonymous hiring tools can reduce the number of opportunities for biases to take hold. Virtual interviewing, too, can be the difference between someone being given an opportunity or not, considering their ability to travel to an in-person interview.
For more information about how technology can help reduce our biases, click here to read our article on the subject.
The burst of remote working opportunities following the pandemic provided far more jobs for those who would have difficulty commuting to an office. With this in mind, consider your hiring practices. If you’re recruiting for a new role, think about whether it could be done entirely remotely. If it could, include this in the job description so as not to eliminate applicants who may not be able to come into the office.
If you do have any fully remote workers, pay some mind to their WFH set-up. Do they have all the tools and equipment they need? Are your systems of communications sufficiently efficient? Consider including a tech budget for new starters to spend on any equipment they may require.
This tech solution involves the enhancing of equipment to make it easier to use. This includes things that everyone can benefit from, such as ergonomic keyboards and microphone headsets, but goes further for those with disabilities.
A screen reader, for example, identifies what is on a person’s screen and reads it to them. This is useful not only for those with visual impairments, but those for whom bright screens cause migraines and other issues.
Voice recognition technology can help those who might have trouble typing all day. Instead, they can tell their device what to type with their voice.
There are plenty more ways employers can make work easier for those with disabilities. The best way to find out what would help, of course, is to ask.
Just as a physical disability makes it difficult for a person to go about their day, mental health issues can hamper a person’s ability to function as they would usually. According to the World Health Organisation, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression rose by 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tech solutions in place for those struggling with their mental health, such as virtual therapy and mood tracking apps. Utilising these as part of your benefits package can help your employees feel properly supported during their lower points.
Technology is, by nature, a tool that helps to make tasks easier. So, when some people find tasks more difficult than others, it stands to reason that an increase in technology will help to alleviate the problem. It is absolutely vital, however, to ask any employees affected by a disability what they need. Just because one solution helps one person, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone with the same disability. Communication is key.
At HR Technologies UK, we’ll have a wealth of businesses who specialise in making the workplace more accessible, from hiring processes all the way to day-to-day tasks. Come along to find out how you can improve your own offering!