As you’re planning your disability employment and inclusion program, you’ll need to make sure your facility is set up to help your new employees function at their best.

For some facilities, this might mean physical modifications, such as widening spaces between desks or installing automatic doors. Fortunately, these modifications benefit all employees and, for any areas that might be accessed by them, your customers or clients.

You’ll also want to think beyond physical facility readiness to consider your information, communications, and technology (ICT) readiness and accessibility, too. By approaching these changes from the perspective of universal design – design that accommodates all needs – you can benefit all your employees and future proof your own internal systems.

Below are 10 questions that can help you assess whether your facility is ready for your program:

  1. Are there designated parking spaces for people with disabilities—and are they close to the worksite’s entrance?
  2. Is there a pathway without abrupt level changes or steps that leads from the parking area to the entrance?
  3. If ramps are used to provide access, are they appropriately graded and are handrails provided?
  4. Are the doors wide enough (36 inches) for people using wheelchairs?
  5. Are the doors easy to open (e.g., not excessively heavy, with easily grasped handles, or automatic)?
  6. Is the Human Resources office in an accessible location?
  7. Are pathways to the bathroom, water fountain and public telephone accessible?—and can people with disabilities use them?
  8. Are elevators accessible to all people with disabilities (e.g., control panels lower than 54 inches from the floor, raised symbols or numbers on the control panels)?
  9. Is signage appropriate and accessible for people with visual, learning and cognitive disabilities (including the use of symbols and graphics)?
  10. Does the emergency warning system include both audio and visual alarms?

Get a printable version of this page to fill out and add notes below.

While the realities of physical and ICT modifications may go beyond these, depending on your own facility design, these questions may provide a baseline context to approach evaluating your readiness. Your ICT systems in particular should be reviewed for accessibility around your own business processes, IT systems, and software solutions.

When assessing whether or not your software is accessible, there are a variety of tools you might opt to use. But one way to review is to check each item’s WCAG 2.0/2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) Standards and/or whether it is 508 compliant (referring to Section 508 of the Rehabilitations Act).

Finally, after evaluating the physical and ICT realities of your site’s readiness, it is important to consider the environmental analysis of your company and implementation site.

Related Stories

On-the-Job Disability Accommodations and Support

From visual tools to job coaches, providing reasonable accommodations to employees with a disability doesn’t need to be complicated.

Once a person with a disability comes to work or interview for your company, there may be accommodations or supports that need to be put in place for that employee…

Read More

Your Workplace Accommodation Request Process: 7 Best Practices

Your employees with disabilities may need to request workplace accommodations—these six best practices can help define the process.

Many of the accommodations your employees with disabilities need will be provided before they even arrive on site for their first day on the job. But it’s also important that…

Read More

Setting Up Facility Tours for Your Community Employment Partners

Want your community partners to be on the same page in terms of job specifications, expectations and facility culture? Offer facility tours.

Offering facility tours to your service providers is great way to get everyone on the same page in terms of job specifications, expectations and facility culture. It also serves as…

Read More