Inclusive & Accessible Designs in the Workplace

Inclusive & Accessible Designs in the Workplace

In America, the month of October has been recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month since 1945. 

Let’s look into the history:

In 1945, the efforts began with the intent to inform the general public regarding the challenges those with disabilities face in employment across the Nation. Congress enacted Public Law 176, and it was to be recognized as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” Great intent, but the name could be a bit more inclusive, right? In 1962, “Physically” was dropped from the title in efforts to extend the recognition to those possessing various types of disabilities; not just physical. In the late 1980s, however, Congress decided to change the recognition from a week to a month. Additionally, the name was changed to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” (NDEAM).

Months like these that highlight the diversities of being a human are a great contribution to our collective awareness of the world around us. It’s a great time to educate others surrounding disability employment, as well as celebrate the many contributions made by American workers with disabilities. 

At Reseat, we’d like to take the opportunity to offer inclusive design solutions and suggestions to make your workplace more accessible to all.

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design is about driving the diverse nature of people, alongside designing a space, product, or service that can be used in ways that do not exclude anyone. Inclusive design offers flexibility and the space to celebrate the diverse nature of humans. 

According to Office Space Software, inclusive design is made up of three primary principles: accessible, usable, and universal.

Here are some examples:

Collaborative Spaces When the function of collaborative spaces is to elicit teamwork and conversation between coworkers, these designated spots are an essential in the workplace. Utilizing these spaces builds strength within a team, facilitating a beacon of trust and confidence in their forthcoming projects. 

In regards to inclusive design, these rooms are normally open with wide spaces, with a plethora of seating and tools, decorated with color in efforts to spark up a great brainstorm session everyone can contribute to. 

Height-Adjustable Desks Ergonomically, this particular style of desks is ideal for anybody. When possible, standing while working promotes excellent blood circulation, which is great for both your body and your mind. It allows for a bit more flexibility within the ways you work and contributes to a major up in your productivity game. 

For those who may need specific accommodations with their seating, height-adjustable desks are a great, convenient option. It’s a simple way to ensure that every employee has access to universal design. 

Accessible Washrooms While this feature is already required to achieve ADA compliance, it’s still something that needs to be considered when designing a workspace. Making sure that universal design applies to every element of design of your space is a vital part of what makes an inclusive work environment with its employees’ best interest. 

What exactly does it mean to have an accessible washroom? An accessible washroom has a bit more than motion-automated sinks and towel dispensers, it entails features like grab bars on door handles, a ceiling track hoist, or even a shower made available in efforts to align with universal design. 

Braille Signs Since the 1800s, braille has been utilized by those who are visually empaired, and its availability shapes the ways in which visually impaired people experience spaces. The simplicity of accessing everyday products and services can be made possible with braille. With that said, it’s extremely important that your workspace includes braille throughout the building and, in that way, honors accessibility.

It’s extremely important to uphold the standards of inclusive design since, at the end of the day, people need to be allowed the space to be people, safely and accessibly. 

Happy Disability Pride Awareness Month!