This September we hosted our SODA Social webinar, ‘Building an Accessible Workplace’ in collaboration with our academic partner Code Institute. We discussed solutions to help create a disability-friendly and accessible workplace that works for everyone. Some of our key findings included:
How to build an accessible workplace
Hidden disabilities and their challenges
The power of language
The importance of investing in your website to optimise accessibility
Download the white paper here. We focussed on the physical and social barriers that are often put in place for disabled people. Brian O’Grady, program director at Code Institute, explained the impact of working from home for people with physical barriers. He illustrated that while the shift to remote working has been universally accepted, it is imperative to still consider the needs of people working from home with a disability. Jessy Halison, Engineering Manager at Ecosia, also added that companies should steer away from the focus of degrees and higher education. Many visible and non-visible disabled people learn through other means, perhaps being self-taught or adding coding schools like Code Institute. The pressure of having some form of higher education is a deep blocker to the diversity field, hiding many incredible talents. Jessy advised that we must steer away from this focus on degrees and look at the wider canvas when recruiting.
Another pivotal topic of conversation was building empathy for disabled people through recruiting and hiring. Toby Mildon, diversity, and inclusion architect at Mildon advised our audience to map out the recruitment process from beginning to end, then understand what it is like to go through the process with various impairments, identifying speedbumps or roadblocks which may slow people down. Steve Demeter, Senior Engineering Manager at Google impactfully spoke about considering hidden challenges for individuals, explaining how mentally draining it can be to over-explain your disability to others to achieve some form of acceptance.
From all of the SODA squad, we would like to thank our panellists for their insights, and to Code Institute for their instrumental collaboration from start to end. If you missed the webinar, catch up on the video footage below: