Designing an accessible workplace for everyone should be at the top of the list when designing and building any office space. Whether you’re constructing a new space, remodeling an existing one, or simply making changes to reception desk, existing furniture, office equipment or space layouts, accessibility is key. An accessible and inclusive workplace ensures everyone is able to work productively and safely while also enabling them to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Here are some things to consider when designing and constructing an accessible workspace.
7 Tips On Designing an Accessible Workplace
- Understand the law: The Americans with Disabilities Act, World Health Organization and other relevant laws set requirements for making any workplace more accessible regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities. Make sure you understand and comply with all applicable regulations in your area, so that your office meets legal standards. Check North Carolina State University website to learn more.
- Focus on access: When considering any type of remodel or construction, think about how every person like visually impaired in the office will be able to access all areas of the space as well as different pieces of furniture and equipment.
- Invest in ergonomic furniture: Invest in furniture that is adjustable and ergonomically designed to provide comfort for workers of all sizes and physical accessibility. Good planning and inclusive design can pay workplace accessibility in the future.
- Offer mobility solutions: Consider providing solutions like wheelchair ramps, walkers or canes for people who may need extra assistance when moving around the workplace.Ensuring that any product or workspace is simple and intuitive to use is an important part of designing for accessibility. This means you don’t create barriers to using the space or product such as complicated instructions, confusing visuals or inaccessible design features. By making sure any office space or product is easy to use and navigate, people with various disabilities can access it without facing obstacles. For example, if a software platform has complex commands and steps, people with vision impairments may have difficulty using it without assistance. Making sure the interface is streamlined and uncomplicated will make it much easier for everyone to use the platform.
- Make everything well-lit: Make sure lighting throughout the office is adequate and consider additional task lighting if required by certain tasks or disabilities present in the workplace.
- Use easy-to-read fonts: For anyone with vision impairments, using larger fonts or easy-to-read ones like Verdana is important for ensuring everyone can read documents easily without needing special tools such as magnifying glasses or enlarged text displays.
- Provide audio equipment wherever necessary: Depending on the types of disabilities present amongst employees, make sure there is appropriate audio equipment available wherever needed function properly within the space (eg headsets). Audio equipment can be essential for providing a safe and accommodating workplace for those with hearing impairments. Headsets, sound amplifiers, and other audio devices are necessary in certain situations, and should be provided wherever it is needed. This can help to ensure that everyone is able to hear or communicate in an office setting – regardless of their hearing ability. Furthermore, audio equipment can also help people with speech disabilities to communicate more effectively in the workplace. By having audio devices available, employers can help ensure an inclusive environment where employees feel comfortable and respected.
Why Is It Important to Design for Accessibility?
Designing for accessibility is important because it allows everyone to feel welcome, included and safe from accidental or unintended actions in the workplace. Accessible design ensures that people of all sizes, abilities, and backgrounds can work comfortably and safely. It also improves productivity and efficiency.
By considering accessibility when designing or remodeling an office space, employers can ensure their employees are free to do their best work without worrying about physical barriers getting in the way. Furthermore, accessible design helps reduce workplace discrimination as everyone is treated equally regardless of ability level or disability status.