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Accessibility in the workplace: how flexibility can help everyone reach their full potential

Naomi Cruden, Talent Manager at Amplifi discusses why acknowledging accessibility and all forms of diversity are so important to achieve inclusivity, and how flexibility enables everyone to access work, no matter what their individual circumstance may be.

In today's rapidly evolving professional landscape, businesses are increasingly recognising the significance of fostering inclusive working environments that celebrate diversity in all its forms. As a People person, it is my responsibility to champion diversity in the workplace and make sure that every individual, regardless of their abilities, feels valued and empowered. In this article, I will discuss the importance of acknowledging accessibility and delve into why flexible working is crucial for individuals with disabilities.

Accessibility from the start

To effectively acknowledge accessibility and diversity we need to start at the beginning of an employee’s journey with an organisation. Providing hiring and onboarding processes where candidates feel comfortable disclosing their disabilities and discussing their accommodation needs is imperative, as it creates a sense of belonging and understanding. For example, implementing accessible application processes, such as providing alternative formats for online assessments or interviews, can ensure equal access for all candidates. Also, educating hiring managers about disability awareness and providing reasonable accommodations during interviews can help level the playing field, and allow candidates to be evaluated fairly based on their suitability and qualifications.

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To ensure we provide a safe space for individuals to showcase their talents and skills within the interview process, we make sure that our communication is clear and that everyone knows what to expect throughout so there aren’t any hidden tests or last-minute tasks set.

We hope to make candidates feel comfortable letting us know if there are any considerations we need to know about to make their experience more comfortable by asking the right questions before inviting them in for a face-to-face meeting. Once again, it’s these very simple actions that can make a real difference to an individual who may have faced prejudice or discrimination during previous interview processes. By starting your interaction with a candidate showing inclusive and equitable qualities, it helps foster a positive and empowering culture going forwards too.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

An inclusive workplace culture goes beyond mere compliance with accessibility regulations; it embraces the notion that diversity is a strength and encourages every employee to bring their unique perspectives and talents to the table. By fostering an inclusive culture, we not only enhance employee morale and job satisfaction but also drive innovation and creativity within our teams. By encouraging open conversations around the many forms of diversity, we can create a space where everyone feels empowered to be their true selves at work, which in turn removes stigmas, bias, and discrimination.

At Amplifi, our DEI Committee are continually working towards a strategy based on embracing diversity and creating the most inclusive environment for anyone to thrive in, and one of the recent initiatives has been a week focused on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, where information and resources have been shared daily to open conversations and raise awareness.

The Power of Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working arrangements, such as remote work, part time or compressed hours, and work from anywhere polices, are game changers for individuals with disabilities. Flexible working is an integral part of building an inclusive culture and provides people with the autonomy and flexibility to manage their work and personal lives without difficulty. Remote work, in particular, eliminates many physical barriers, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to contribute without constraints. Studies have shown that employees with disabilities who have access to flexible work options exhibit higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and reduced stress levels. If flexibility can mitigate the impact of commuting challenges or medical appointments and enable individuals to strike a balance between their work and personal life - it makes sense to do it.

Remote work and flexibility are an integral part of our culture at Amplifi and is one of the reasons we can hire the best talent into the team - we don't mandate office days or micromanage people's time, so whatever an individual's circumstance is, we always do our best to accommodate for it. By providing flexible working arrangements, we can tap into all talent pools and allow individuals to thrive and perform at their best.

Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Embracing accessibility and providing a flexible work environment not only benefits individuals with disabilities but also promotes overall diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By offering adaptable work arrangements, we remove the one-size-fits-all approach and create space for diverse needs and abilities.

Embracing DEI also fosters a sense of belonging, empowering individuals with disabilities to thrive and contribute their unique skills and abilities. It sends a powerful message that everyone deserves equal opportunities, respect, and support in their professional journey. By creating an inclusive workplace that champions DEI, we can break down barriers, challenge societal stigmas, and cultivate a culture where everyone feels valued, empowered, and able to reach their full potential.

Working in Amplifi’s People team and being part of our DEI committee has enabled me to help shape our organisations' culture and practices to build an environment where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can thrive. By acknowledging accessibility and implementing flexible working arrangements, we open doors of opportunity for individuals with disabilities, allowing them to contribute their unique skills and talents.

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About the author

Naomi Cruden is Talent Manager at Amplifi.

She is an integral part of our People & Culture team and is Amplifi’s internal DEI champion, responsible for establishing and leading our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee, to ensure that Amplifi is a welcoming and inclusive place for the people who currently work here and anybody who is looking to join.

You can read more about Amplifi's DEI Commitment here.