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Disability in the Workplace

  • 2024-05-03
  • Reading time: 9 min.
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Is disability in the workplace an issue for you? If so, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 22% of American adults with a disability were employed in 2023, the highest ratio ever recorded1. As a result, disability inclusion in the workplace is an important topic for organizations as they seek ways to create a supportive environment for employees with impaired physical mobility.  

Read on to explore workplace challenges employees with disabilities face and how employers can better accommodate disabled workers by creating an ergonomic workplace.

The Different Types of Physical Disabilities in the Workplace

According to NANDA, physical mobility is an individual’s ability to perform any task that requires movement from one place to another2. Individuals who struggle with impaired physical mobility are unable to do this as efficiently and/or to a degree that serves their best interests.  

Physical disabilities in the workplace vary and may include mobility impairments, chronic pain conditions, breathing difficulties, and more. Mobility impairments can restrict an individual’s ability to move around the workplace, for instance, using stairs or accessing certain areas. 

Employees with physical disabilities may also experience chronic pain conditions that can hinder their ability to sit or stand for long periods, type on a keyboard, or perform other tasks that require physical exertion. Employers must be aware of the different types of physical disabilities that employees may have and provide appropriate accommodations to support their needs.

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Disability in the Workplace Challenges

Despite the legal requirements for workplace accommodations3, employed individuals with disabilities still face numerous challenges. These challenges can include physical barriers that limit access to certain areas of the workplace, lack of understanding or awareness from coworkers and supervisors, and difficulties in obtaining necessary accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities may also face stigma or discrimination in the workplace, which can impact their self-esteem, job satisfaction, and well-being. Additionally, navigating the process of requesting and receiving accommodations can be complex and time- consuming, leading to frustration and delays in getting the disability support they need at work.

How to Accommodate Workers with Disability in the Workplace

Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment for employees with disabilities requires a proactive and collaborative approach that involves both the employer and employees. Here are some tips for accommodating workers with physical disabilities in the workplace:

Create an Ergonomic Workplace 
First and foremost, an ergonomic workplace4 is essential for promoting the health and well-being of employees with disabilities. Adjustable workstations, ergonomic furniture, and assistive devices can all be used to support individuals with physical limitations. For example, height-adjustable desks can accommodate employees who use wheelchairs or mobility aids, while ergonomic keyboards and mice can help individuals with limited dexterity.

Provide Accessibility Features
Making the workplace more accessible can greatly benefit employees with disabilities. This process may include installing ramps and elevators for those with mobility impairments. Enhancing work environment accessibility is a reliable way for organizations to create a more inclusive workplace for all employees.

Flexible Work Arrangements
Offering flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting options or flexible hours, can benefit employees with disabilities. Allowing individuals to work in environments that suit their needs and schedules helps minimize the impact of physical limitations on their productivity and well-being. Flexible work arrangements can also help employees better manage health conditions while balancing work with personal responsibilities.

Prioritize Training and Awareness
Educating all employees about disability inclusion is essential for fostering a supportive workplace culture. Training sessions on disability etiquette and inclusive practices can help coworkers and supervisors better understand how to interact with and support individuals with disabilities. Organizations that prioritize a culture of respect and understanding are more likely to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that promotes productivity.

Develop Individualized Accommodation Plans
Employers must also meet with disabled employees individually to develop accommodation plans tailored to their specific needs. This process may include conducting assessments to identify challenges, determining appropriate accommodations, and regularly reviewing and adjusting the accommodation plan, as needed. 

Using a proactive and personalized approach to workplace accommodations empowers organizations to better support the diverse needs of all employees, including those with mobility-limiting disabilities.

disabilities in the workplace

VELA Chairs: An Ergonomic Seating Solution that Promotes Disability Inclusion in the Workplace

As an essential part of any ergonomic workplace, a VELA Chair helps promote disability inclusion by streamlining the routines of employees with disabilities – especially those who may struggle with conventional office chairs due to their mobility impairments.

Key features of the revolutionary VELA Chair include:

Customizable 

VELA chairs adjust to accommodate various body types and mobility requirements, ensuring that each user can find the most comfortable and supportive seated position. The chair’s seat height and backrest angle can be easily adjusted to suit the individual’s needs, promoting proper posture and reducing the risk of strain or discomfort.

Streamlined Mobility

A VELA Chair ensures ease of movement. These chairs are equipped with smooth-rolling wheels, allowing users to move around the workspace with minimal effort. This feature is notably beneficial for individuals with mobility challenges, as it enables them to navigate their work environment more efficiently and independently. A VELA Chair is also agile enough to navigate through doorways and around office furniture, streamlining mobility for workers throughout the day. 

Superior Ergonomics

As an essential part of any ergonomic workspace, a VELA Chair is ergonomically- designed to promote proper posture and better circulation, making it easier for workers to task away for hours at a time without being distracted by discomfort or fatigue. Made from breathable material that wicks moisture away, the chair’s padded seat, backrest, and armrests comfortably support the body in all the right places. 

Versatility

With features like an electric lift and a robust handbrake, VELA chairs can be used in the workplace by employees with disabilities to manage a wide variety of tasks. Whether in an office setting, a hospitality venue, a warehouse, or a healthcare facility, a VELA Chair can help individuals maintain their productivity and well-being throughout the workday

Adjustable Seat Height

Once the wheels are securely locked, the VELA Chair’s electric lift empowers users to change seating positions at the touch of a button. This innovative feature makes it easy for a user to manage various workplace challenges, such as accessing different desk and table heights, getting into and out of a chair, reaching items on high and low surfaces, and more. Thanks to the VELA Chair, disabled individuals with poor balance, diminished leg strength, or low energy can efficiently navigate the workplace with renewed confidence.  

Safety and Security

Once activated, the chair’s brakes securely locks the wheels, preventing it from rolling away or moving out from under a user. A VELA Chair holds the body safely and securely in place, while the durable-yet-comfortable armrests give employees a place to rest tired arms while participating in meetings or interacting with customers or clients. 

Durable Construction

Durably-constructed out of quality materials, a VELA Chair is built to last. The chair’s solid frame and moisture-wicking upholstery are designed to withstand the rigors of daily use in a variety of work environments. The chair’s longevity ensures that individuals with disability in the workplace challenges can continue to rely on them as their careers progress.

Disability Inclusion

As an ideal way to promote a supportive and inclusive workplace environment, VELA chairs help foster acceptance and respect for all employees, regardless of their physical abilities. Enhancing the self-esteem and well-being of employees with disabilities will help optimize productivity, making the VELA Chair a valuable addition to any ergonomic workspace. Are disability challenges in the workplace holding you back? Streamline your work routine and attain new career heights with the remarkable VELA Independence Chair. Visit our product page and order your chair today!

See the VELA Independence Chair

Scott Grant’s Detailed Review

The VELA Independence Chair’s Innovative Design and Workplace Benefits

Scott Grant, the respected blogger behind “Graying with Grace,” has published an in-depth and glowing review of our VELA Independence Chair. In his analysis, Scott emphasizes the chair’s innovative design, exceptional ergonomic features, and its profound impact on enhancing productivity and comfort in the workplace.

To understand why Scott Grant considers the VELA Independence Chair a transformative mobility aid, read the full review here and watch the detailed video review here.