Empowering The Disabled In The Workspace

Every year on December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed around the world with the goal of promoting the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.
Nearly one billion individuals, or around 15% of the world’s population, are disabled. According to The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (2016): “Person with a disability” means a person with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders their full and effective participation in society equally with others. The health, social, and economic consequences of global crises have disproportionately impacted people with disabilities (PwDs). As a result, the day is commemorated to encourage disabled individuals to participate in the world’s long-term development.

Albeit all the awareness about the situation and despite the substantial progress, many people with disabilities still have significant challenges finding work. At its root, disability inclusion in the workplace is a realization that employees are people. Employees do not and cannot — shed the complexities of their bodily and mental selves at work. One out of every four adults has a visible or invisible disability. Despite their desire to work, people with disabilities have a substantially lower employment rate than their counterparts. The overwhelming majority of persons with impairments want to work but lack the support to do so.

Companies that had robust disability inclusion plans in place before the COVID-19 pandemic struck were likely able to react to shifting reality more rapidly. After all, they were already prepared to think imaginatively about problems, meet employees where they were, and acknowledge and cherish their employees’ humanity. A well-designed disability inclusion program makes it easy for all employees to reach their full potential. When done correctly, it fosters a culture that values diversity. It encourages employees to “bring their complete selves to work,” which is something many forward-thinking businesses encourage.

Adults with disabilities report more emotional distress than those without disabilities, according to a recent study. Poor health behaviors, greater use of health services, mental disorders, chronic disease, and limits in everyday life are all linked to frequent mental discomfort. Isolation, detachment, interrupted routines, and limited health services have all had a significant influence on the lives and emotional well-being of individuals with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies need to create a more inclusive and safe space for employees with disabilities because it’s not like they aren’t capable of performing extraordinarily, it’s just that they do not have the support or resources to reach their full potential. This day highlights some really important questions that companies should ask themselves like “How can we make our firm and culture more inclusive and accessible to all?”

Companies can take a few steps forward to make their work environment more inclusive like:

Employees want these conversations; they want to know that they can bring their complete selves to work, including their disabilities, without fear of being treated unfairly. While caring for the employees, companies must ensure that they’re providing their employees with the mental and physical healthcare they require along with the right technology in place and provision of the tools and skills they need to shine. As part of a new vision for the future of work, many people with disabilities are talented and can offer substantial value to the workforce and economy. Empowering these individuals and developing strategies for fostering a diverse workforce by establishing an inclusive culture can go a long way in making the workplace a safe space for everybody.

Very few Indian workplaces enroll for an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) because of various reasons but it is highly recommended by healthcare professionals. “At Trijog, we provide personalized employee assistance programs & corporate wellness solutions that are trusted by over 80+ leading organizations, and every service provided goes through numerous quality checks to deliver the best solutions to our clients.”

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