COVID-19 could help to level the playing field for the disabled workforce
Emma Greedy, December 03, 2020
Working from home due to the pandemic has meant that more jobs are opened up to those with disabilities, however it may not go far enough.
According to disability equality charity Scope, there are currently 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. Nineteen per cent of working age adults identify as having a disability, yet adults with disabilities are still twice as likely to be unemployed.
Real estate company, The Instant Group has therefore urged more companies to specifically target this pool of talent and provide the right environment for people with disabilities to work in.
The key to creating more equality between disabled and able-bodied members workforce, the company said, will be in businesses thinking more flexibly about the way they work and where they work from.
John Duckworth, managing director UK & EMEA, The Instant Group, said: “COVID-19 and the subsequent working from home experiment has completely levelled the playing field for disabled workers – but not because working from home has become the new norm.
“The pandemic has forced many businesses to consider more agile and innovative workspaces which provide the ability to adapt quickly and easily to changes – this might be working from home, working from a central office or a suburban hub – its most likely to be a combination of all three.”
The Instant Group has recommended three key factors to offer workforces wider choice and flexibility to best accommodate individual needs.
The first factor it said was to go beyond ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the workplace by factoring in wellbeing, accessibility and aesthetic design.
The second is to evaluate your choice of work environment carefully.
If, for example, disabled workers are given the option of where to work from it could help prevent excessive exhaustion, reduce commuting time, and maintain the individual’s privacy. All of which it said would ultimately benefit staff wellbeing and overall performance.
The last recommendation is to consider smart working; to organise work so that it is more efficient and effective.
Smart working it said would allow disabled workers to integrate fitness and wellbeing activities into their workday, better manage their energy around client/collaboration time, travel to work at a time of day that is less congested and would take the pressure off getting to a location by a specific deadline.