As offices tentatively start returning to their desks in a post lockdown world, the work-from-home movement, which became so popular during the pandemic, still remains a strong benefit for many living with disabilities. With the introduction of a number of digital workplace accessible technologies, this has never been easier for businesses to implement.
What is Digital Workplace Accessibility?
So what does the term actually mean? Just as physical offices include ramps, specialized desks and allocated services for disabled employees, your digital workspace also requires modification to increase the means, knowledge and useability among workers with physical and mental impairments. The Americans with Disability Act (the ADA) is the civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against disabled people - including your employees. It’s all about inclusivity. Not to mention that it, in many instances, is a legal and moral requirement.
The global pandemic has thrust the subject of workplace accessibility into the forefront of employer’s minds, with 52.3% of disabled people in employment, specialized resources are integral in a digital workplace in order to improve productivity and flexibility for those with impairments. Which, ultimately, will lead to increased business revenue and an enhanced employee experience.
Research is key
A great place to start a deeper dive into the world of digital accessibility is The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (known as WCAG 2.1). They are an internationally recognised set of recommendations for improving web and digital website accessibility. Explaining how to make digital services, websites and apps accessible to everyone, to include users with impairments to their:
- vision - such as severely sight impaired (blind), sight impaired (partially sighted) or those that suffer from color blindness.
- hearing - such as people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- mobility - those who find it difficult to use a mouse or keyboard.
- thinking and understanding - including people with dyslexia, autism or learning difficulties.
How to Implement Digital Accessibility in the Workplace
“I want to make my digital workplace more inclusive for employees,” we hear you cry, “but how do I do so?” There are a number of accessibility resources and assistive technologies available to employers:
- Audio description - for the visually impaired, accurate audio description is one of the most integral tools allowing full content comprehension.
- Braille Hardware - visually impaired employees who find it difficult to utilise a standard computer monitor can use this specialized piece of equipment to read text on a screen.
- Closed captions - open your Zoom meetings and other video files to the hard of hearing with transcription software. Using the power of AI, programs like Trint have the power to automatically add subtitles to audio & video files.
- Speech recognition software - for those with learning difficulties or issues like dyslexia, speech-to-text technology can be a priceless tool in aiding writing clear and accurate documents and presentations.
With these sorts of implementations, it’ll become possible for a wider pool of employees to utilize digital tools within your business. What’s more, with these adaptations in mind, they can be deployed across your website. This will ultimately lead to a boost in your SEO (search engine optimization), website engagement and organic traffic due to the higher quality UX (user experience) available to a more diverse audience. In addition, there are a number of certifications that you, as a business owner, can apply for when your website is fully accessible.
Click here to download our Accessible Corporate Communications guide for more information on how Trint can aid diversity and communication in your digital workplace.