How can workers better support disabled colleagues?

Disabled people have the same rights as everyone else, which includes the right to be treated fairly and with respect in the workplace.

However, disabled people often face discrimination and barriers to employment. As a result, it’s important for all workers to be aware of how they can support their disabled colleagues. To be an effective ally, it is important to understand the unique challenges that disabled workers face and to be willing to offer assistance when needed. This may include:

1. Check your company’s policies

One way to do this is to ensure that disabled employees have access to the same resources and opportunities as everyone else. This includes providing adjustments for disabled employees, such as flexible working arrangements or assistive technology.

It also includes adequate training and development opportunities, making sure that everyone’s work environment is safe and accessible, and offering remote work arrangements when necessary. By providing this, companies help create a level playing field for all employees. But don’t rely on business owners and managers to do this, ask the right questions to find out whether your company supports disabled employees.

2. Support an inclusive environment

Workers can create an inclusive environment by using positive language when referring to disabled colleagues and avoiding making assumptions about their abilities. It is important to be aware of the individual needs of each colleague, but be respectful of personal boundaries and avoid assumptions about what a colleague can or cannot do. This may involve asking questions, but also being open to feedback.

By promoting inclusivity in the workplace, workers can help to ensure that disabled employees are able to thrive in their careers. After all, it’s helpful to create an environment in which all colleagues feel comfortable communicating their needs. In addition, you can set a positive example for others in the workplace and help to break down barriers of exclusion.

3. Question your unconscious bias

In today’s workplace, it’s more important than ever to be aware of our own personal biases. We all have them – it’s only human. But unchecked, bias can lead to discriminatory behavior, which can create a hostile environment for colleagues who are disabled. The first step in addressing this issue is to question our own biases. Why do we feel the way we do about people with disabilities? What experiences have we had that might have shaped our views? According to guides, studies have revealed that a third of people believe disabled people are less productive than non-disabled people.

But once we’ve identified our own biases, we can start to work on changing them. This may mean attending workshops or training sessions on diversity and inclusion. It may also mean making a conscious effort to interact with disabled colleagues on a regular basis. By taking these steps, we can help create a more supportive workplace for everyone.

Creating an inclusive environment in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. When everyone feels welcome and respected, they are more likely to be productive and engaged employees.

This article was contributed by Dylan Reid, Digital Relations Consultant at 6XDMedia 

Image credit: Unsplash

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