Accessibility: How to ensure your workplace is inclusive

How can you ensure IT remains accessible for people with disabilities? It's imperative that you consider the options...

Christopherson said the scheme is good, but he believes it's a very slow moving beast and takes a long time to go from referral to assessment and equipment supply.

Other, non-governmental solutions, such as Abilitynet's workplace adjustment can short circuit that process and cost less, he claims. 

Abilitynet tries to do its assessment in 10 days rather than the 140 days that Access To Work promises, according to Christopherson.

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He said assessors need to be real experts in pan disability because often they will go into a company where someone has one stated disability, such as dyslexia, and it turns out they have discomfort when they're working, leading to further complications.

The Clear Company is another firm proactively helping both employers and employees identify needs across the whole equality spectrum.

As a recruitment expert in diversity, it knows what an employer should be doing to meet the needs of the Equality Act under different characteristics, using its Clear Talents at Work for existing or future employees.

The tool is a questionnaire that asks the employees lots of different questions about impairments, difficulties, pain, discomfort, issues with discrimination, special adaptations they use or whether they can see specific text size and also a test for dyslexia.

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After the questionnaire has been completed, a report is produced indicating to the employee and employer what adjustments are needed.

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If the tool identifies that an individual needs an expert assessment, it gives a number of options to request a workplace assessment, from a variety of companies, including any existing assessor the company is already using.

Christopherson explained that paying for help and resourcing properly pays for itself up to 100 times over. This, he says, is because the resultant reduction in sick days, tribunal agreements and increased productivity vastly outweighs the initial outgoings.

At the moment, he thinks the cost to make changes is dis-incentivises firms because employers don't want to incorrectly implement the changes needed. As a result, they are only dealing with people who shout loudly about problems at their workstation.

"Employees only shout loudly when things are really bad and you're not achieving potential from others who are in discomfort," he says.

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