7 tips to make your business more accessible

While attitudes about what visually impaired people are able to do within the work place have improved in recent times, it is still often the case that working environments are not as accessible as they could be. Read our top tips bel for how to make your business more accessible...

Jo sat at her desk in the Liverpool resource centre, working at the computer

1. Keep light levels constant

There is nothing worse than struggling through the whole day at work with glare making your screen almost impossible to use, even more so for someone with a visual impairment! Ensure that blinds are fitted to windows and desks are positioned in such a way that your employees can conduct their work in a glare free environment.

2. Consider the layout of your office

Straight lines make it easier for everybody to navigate, by ensuring routes to places such as kitchens, printers or toilets are simple to follow and easy to remember, navigation of your workplace becomes simple and easy for all. Nobody enjoys getting lost down corridors or walking into meetings that are halfway through!

3. Colour contrast can be your best friend

Contrast around doorframes and light switches help those with a visual impairment to find their way around the office. It’s a simple idea but simply ensuring light switches are a different colour to walls ensures that they are easily identifiable for those with a visual impairment.

4. Ensure computers are accessible for blind or visually impaired employees

While technology has vastly improved in recent years in terms of is accessibility for the visually impaired, technology in the workplace is often forgotten about. Through installing simple programs such as screen magnifiers and JAWS, a programme that reads text on a computer and reads it out for the user; visually impaired employees’ experience working in your business can become that much easier.

5. Make work spaces as accessible as possible

Consider if task lighting or magnifying glass is needed for employees with a visual impairment. Ensure that the layout of employee’s desks is logical, with elements such as phones, stationary and computer equipment easy to access. Not only will this make employee’s work environment more comfortable, their productivity may also increase!

6. Make signage as visual as possible

Signage should be as visual as possible, positioned at eye level and printed in large print where possible. Well lit and clearly understandable signs should be positioned throughout your business to highlight hazards, indicate routes/information and aid navigation. Stop and think, is your whole office signposted in a clear way? If not, both your visually impaired and sighted employees may not have access to the information they need.

7. Secure any loose wires safely and keep all walkways clear

While blind and visually impaired people are more than capable of navigating their way around their work environment, unexpected hazards such as loose wires or boxes in walkways can make it much more dangerous for them (and everyone else for that matter!). By keeping all walkways clear, you allow navigation to be stress free and safe.

Henshaws offers a wide range of services for local business, from workshops to bespoke training, check out our range of services here.

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Visually Impaired Business of the Year

We love to highlight businesses who go the extra mile to ensure that visually impaired employees and customers are provided with the best possible service.

We celebrate these business at our annual Henshaws awards through the ‘Visually Impaired Friendly Business of the Year’ award. If you know of any business in the North of England who goes beyond expectations to provide service for visually impaired people, you can nominate them here.

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