Consider Accessibility Improvements for Diverse Needs

Does your office need accessibility improvements to accommodate diverse needs? The Americans with Disabilities Act ADA provides detailed guidelines, this article will cover a few general aspects including office chairs, office desks and space.

Accommodating people with disabilities requires some careful planning and is best executed when there is no special treatment but a simple, intuitive design creating greater inclusion. People vary greatly with their abilities and needs and this can change over time.

Inclusion with universal design should be considered from the lobby or other entrances through the office to the breakroom and bathrooms. Universal design makes the workplace more usable for people of all ages and abilities.

“A majority of disabled workers (55%) rate their workplace as only fair or poor in terms of providing a healthy work environment, compared to only 21% of non-disabled workers.” These are the results published in a survey from National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2016.

When selecting office furniture keep in mind low physical effort and respect for space are important to accommodate everyone in the workplace. It also conveys the message that the company cares about everyone’s health and wellness while helping to work more effectively.

  1. The office desk or computer table: Desks and tables should be adjustable. If a worker is in a wheelchair, the office desk or table should have options to be raised or lowered. Many companies are moving into ergonomic office desks featuring height adjustable options for many of its workers for better health and well being.
  2. The Office Chair: The chair should fit under the desk and easily roll or not roll depending on the needs. Ergonomic office chairs that are disability friendly are available. Furniture manufacturers such as Hon offer several options with lumbar support for back issues, adjustable arms and seat tilting options.
  3. Space: Considering proper space depends on the worker’s needs. Wheelchair and mobile device guidelines take in consideration knee and toe space as well as turning space. Space between workstations or office cubicles should be reviewed for all angles.
  4. The Computer: There are many options to accommodate various disabilities. Monitor arms are increasing in popularity for all workers and can easily adjust and even be used to share what is displayed on the monitor. Adjustable keyboard trays offer many options. Large print keyboards, touchpads and even braille keyboards are other options.

There are many accommodations available to offer the best accessibility improvements for a diverse workforce. Designing for the best inclusion promotes health and wellness to all workers. We are here to help design and implement improvements on any level and budget.

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