5 Tips for Creating Workplace Flexibility for Employees with Disabilities
People with disabilities bring talents and perspectives to companies that employ them with benefits. Hiring them isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also great business sense, especially since 97% of HR professionals say employees with disabilities perform the same or better than their peers without disabilities.
Hiring people with disabilities is a wonderful first step especially if your hiring process is designed with their needs in mind. But to help people with disabilities truly thrive in the workplace, a wide range of flexible policies and accommodations is needed. Here are the five top ways to create effective workplace flexibility for employees with disabilities.
1. Offer Flexible Scheduling
Managing health when you have a disability often takes time and rest. Having a highly rigid schedule can be disruptive for employees with disabilities when a condition flares up, like if they have a pain flare-up overnight and must be in the office early.
Employers that offer a flexible approach to scheduling allow employees with disabilities to manage their own time more so they can prioritize both their health and their performance at work. They’re more effective in their role and so is their well-being—a win-win.
2. Build a Remote-First Culture
Offering employees with disabilities the opportunity to work remotely is an accommodation employers often make. But that alone isn’t actually enough to truly enable those employees.
Yes, remote work has significant benefits: a survey of people with disabilities in the UK found that 73% felt they were as or more productive working from home compared to in the office.
However, remote work arrangements must be carefully considered to avoid shutting people with disabilities out from opportunities that arise for their peers who do come into the office This is known as proximity bias.
If you allow your employees with disabilities to work remotely but everyone else works onsite, it’s easy to leave remote workers out of projects and development opportunities.
Instead, consider moving to a remote-first way of working where remote work is the norm, instead of something granted only under special circumstances. Orienting the workplace this way allows employees with disabilities who work remotely to not feel singled out for their work arrangements.
3. Consider Part-Time Arrangements
Employees with disabilities have a lot to offer the organizations they work for, but for many, working full-time is not physically possible or healthy. Consider bringing on employees with disabilities who can take on part-time positions that fill a need for your business.
A part-time arrangement can allow you to access valuable skill sets employees with disabilities have while allowing them to protect their health. Part-time employees save your company money as well in salary, so both sides can benefit.
4. Give Generous Time Off
Every employee needs regular time off from work to recover from illnesses, recharge and rest, and care for themselves. For employees with disabilities, this need is even greater. They may have regular doctor appointments they need to attend, deal with pain and chronic illnesses, or need more mental health days.
Offering generous time off for all employees so they can bring their best and healthiest selves to work lets everyone thrive, especially employees with disabilities. They won’t need to constantly request extra time off or take unpaid days off regularly, they can simply take the time they need when they need it just like your employees without disabilities.
5. Accommodate All Employees for Success
There’s an excellent reason to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities in the workplace: because it’s legally required in most cases. But it also is the right thing to do because it enables employees to do their best work for your business with the proper setup and tools.
Training managers on how to have conversations with employees with disabilities about accommodations is essential as well. They may ask for medical information without knowing the regulations or out of curiosity, so training them proactively ensures your workplace is fair and friendly to all employees with disabilities.
Also, the more accommodations you offer to everyone without question, the less likely you are to run afoul of the laws prohibiting employers from asking for medical information about a requested accommodation.
For example, many large employers now offer a subsidy for their remote workers to create an ergonomic home office setup to prevent injuries and fatigue, for employees with and without disabilities alike. It keeps everyone healthier and doesn’t single out those with disabilities.
Workplace Flexibility for Employees with Disabilities
Setting up a flexible workplace helps employees with disabilities thrive and contribute their considerable talents to your organization.
Looking for more ways to create a diverse and equitable workplace that works for all of your employees?
Cangrade can help!