Universal Design at Work

five young people in the picture, two men, three women. Three are sitting on couches, and two stand behind. They look like they are having a discussion. Four are white, there is one black woman.The principles of universal design can be applied to the workplace as well as the built environment. Some of the basics are covered in Sean McEwen’s slide presentation, “Workplace Diversity Strategies: Utilizing Universal Design to Build an Inclusive Organization” such as: 

Physical accessibility (ramps, ergonomics, work stations)   
Systemic accessibility (protocols, polices, flexibility)
Leadership / Interactional Competencies (cultural agility, EQ)
Work Culture Accessibility (inclusive, employee well being etc)

The presentation addresses the question, “How do we intentionally design recruitment and onboarding protocols and workplace cultures that work for everyone?” It covers cultural agility, micro inequities, wellbeing at work, and strategies for building an inclusive team, among other topics. There is also an employment toolkit with various sections that can be downloaded. While the focus of this web tool is on people with disability, the principles can be applied to any group that is considered part of population diversity. This resource comes from Canada.

For an Australian perspective on similar issues, see the Australian Network on Disability (AND). They specialise in creating disability competent organisations and businesses.