Accessibility at work is about removing barriers to make sure disabled people can take an active part in working life.
Employers should make sure their workplace, and the way they work, is accessible to as many people as possible. This is on top of the legal requirement to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff and job applicants.
Why accessibility is important
If an organisation focuses on accessibility, it can:
- support more people – including visitors, customers and future employees
- in some cases, potentially reduce requests for reasonable adjustments
- encourage inclusive behaviour around disability
- help to prevent disability discrimination
- improve staff morale by treating everyone according to their needs
- show their commitment to equality
If an organisation feels they do not have enough resources to make changes, they should still do as much as they can. Some changes can be made at little or no cost.
Making all areas of work accessible
Accessibility can be about the workplace, for example making sure people can access a work premises. But it's not just about the physical workplace.
Areas of work that can be made more accessible include:
- how people access and get around an organisation's premises – for example the entrance and access to things like toilets and staff rooms
- anywhere staff are working, including working from home – for example making sure staff can access everything they need when they're working remotely
- the tools, systems, and technology people use
- the way information is presented – for example in training courses, staff induction, presentations, interviews and written documents
- decisions around ways of working – for example flexible or hybrid working
- how processes are carried out – for example staff consultation or redundancy
- recruitment – for example how information is given to job applicants and how interviews are carried out, to make sure nobody is excluded from fully taking part
- access to meetings and training courses, including if they're being held outside of the usual workplace
Example of making training more accessible
Bo has a learning disability and finds training courses difficult. Their employer arranges practical training instead where Bo can learn from watching and talking with colleagues.
This is a reasonable adjustment for Bo. But the employer also decides to review their training policy. They decide that all employees can agree with their manager the type of training that works best for them. This is more accessible for everyone.
Talking about accessibility
What's accessible for one person might not be accessible for someone else, because people access things in different ways. Employers should regularly talk with their staff to find out where there are barriers. Talking with staff and making changes can also help to prevent disability discrimination.
Employers should do all they reasonably can to create an environment where people feel safe and comfortable to talk about disability and access needs.
Some organisations might have a formal group for disabled people and their allies to share experiences and raise concerns – for example a disability network.
Find out more about:
Accessibility in public sector organisations
There are extra requirements for public sector organisations around websites and mobile apps. This includes internal websites like intranets. By law, these must be accessible.
Get more advice and support
To find out more about accessibility at work, including examples:
- for employees, workers and job applicants – Scope advice on finding out if a workplace is accessible
- for employers and managers – Disability Confident and CIPD guide on employing people with a disability or health condition