Accessibility is a critical aspect of ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. However, despite the provisions laid out in the Equality Act 2010, many people still face barriers to accessibility in their daily lives.
The Equality Act 2010 replaced and updated previous anti-discrimination legislation in the UK, including the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
In essence, it aims to prevent discrimination and promote equality through the protection of innate characteristics from discrimination, and prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. Disability is covered by this law.
Employers must make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities and can take positive action to ensure their employees face no barriers to work. Many organisations still fall due to lack of resources, training, or awareness of what accommodations are needed.
Consequences from lack of accessibility can be significant and more widespread outside of the sphere of employment. Those with disabilities may struggle to access education, healthcare, and public services and face social isolation, exclusion, and discrimination.
We should also be encouraging organisations to take a proactive approach to accessibility, rather than waiting for complaints or legal action to force them to make changes. This means conducting regular accessibility audits, consulting with people with disabilities, and investing in technology and resources that promote accessibility.
There are numerous strategic and business imperatives for increasing workplace accessibility:
1. Complying with legal obligations
Businesses have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations for employees and customers with disabilities under the Equality Act 2010. By ensuring accessibility, businesses can avoid potential legal action and reputational damage.
2. Expanding the talent pool
Increasing accessibility in the workplace can allow businesses to attract and retain talented employees with disabilities who may have previously been excluded from the workforce.
This can bring diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences to the organization, leading to increased innovation, creativity, and productivity.
3. Improving customer satisfaction
Having accessible spaces and services can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased sales, positive brand reputation, and competitive advantage.
4. Enhancing employee morale and wellbeing
Inclusive workplaces can improve employee morale, satisfaction, and retention. This can lead to lower turnover rates, reduced absenteeism, and higher productivity.
5. Increasing market share
By improving accessibility, businesses can tap into new markets and customer segments, such as older adults, people with disabilities, and their families and friends.
6. Increasing market share
Organisations can foster innovation and develop new markets by designing products and services with accessibility in mind. This can lead to increased profitability and growth opportunities.
By increasing workplace accessibility, organisations can improve sustainable growth, profitability, and social impact, as well as maintaining legal obligations. By increasing awareness, encouraging proactive measures, and recognising the moral imperative of accessibility, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
If you would like to speak to us about your organisations specific needs and how we could help and support you, then please do get in touch with our expert team today on 0203 011 4242 or email us on [email protected].