Obstacles in the Workplace and How to Overcome Them
Obstacles in the workplace are only obstacles until you find a way around them
Whether you’ve been living with a disability your whole life or there has been a recent change in your health that you’re still getting to grips with, the workplace is notorious for throwing a spanner in the works when it comes to accessibility. And, workplaces are always as accommodating as you might hope.
Compared to their counterparts, people with impairments frequently have more difficulty getting employment. For instance, in 2021, just 19% of Americans with disabilities were employed in the United States and less than a third of Brits with a disability were employed.
So, let’s throw these unnecessary obstacles in the workplace to the curb to make sure as many people can enter employment as possible.
Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles as a Disabled Person at Work
Develop your confidence
Not all challenges are external. Your impairment may make you feel self-conscious and you may also doubt your value and job-related skills. But, in reality, there’s no need to worry about these things.
You can increase your self-assurance and become aware of your value to potential employers by taking the following action:
- Watch or read narratives about individuals who share your disability. You’ll probably discover that a large number of disabled people cannot only adapt but also thrive and prosper in society. When you’re down, use their experiences as motivation.
- Reduce your stress levels. According to research, stress may affect you more severely if you have low self-esteem. Put stress-reduction practices like sleeping well, socialising with loved ones and eating healthily first.
Recognize your impairment
Self-awareness has many benefits. Do all you can to understand your disability. How does the illness often develop? What are typical strategies for managing symptoms or lowering the chance of complications? Responding to inquiries like these might also help you get ready to express your wants to your employer and optimise your performance.
Accept assistive technology
There are many different tools available to make life easier for someone with a disability, ranging from canes and hearing aids to text-to-speech gadgets and memory aids. Use any tools that make your life simpler without feeling embarrassed, whether at work or in public. Be aware that you are not defined by these tools or any less deserving of respect as a result.
List your advantages
You can be inclined to become fixated on the restrictions your disability imposes. But keep in mind that you still possess some advantages. So, write them down, particularly any that have to do with your job. When you’re looking for a job or want to feel more confident, go over your list of strengths.
Do not be embarrassed to request assistance or new accommodations
It’s possible that you won’t be able to perform the same tasks as you once could. You might not be able to move objects around as rapidly or stand behind a counter for an extended amount of time as you once could. Look for accommodations that will improve your comfort and efficiency. You can even discuss other positions with your employer that you might be more suitable for.
Look for new employment.
If your workplace isn’t offering you the correct accessibility changes to help make your day-to-day life a bit easier, consider finding somewhere that will.
This step is definitely easier said than done, and for some might not be an option. But, if you have the freedom to find a company more suited to your needs, it’s definitely worth trying.
Speak up for your needs.
Disability disclosure is a personal decision. You are therefore allowed to keep such information to yourself if it feels unnecessary to share it with a potential employer. However, it’s best to be open about your impairment if you’re going to need adjustments.
Any instrument or procedural modification that enables you to get around physical obstacles or unsuitable work schedules is an accommodation. Not only are accommodations available to current employees, but you can also request accommodations while you’re being interviewed.
Reasonable accommodations include parking spaces set aside for those with disabilities, braille materials for blind employees, adaptable beginning and ending times, gadgets that reduce background noise to reduce auditory distractions and written instructions with detailed steps available for those with memory problems.
Understand how to respond to unjust treatment at work
They might treat you too carefully, undervalue you, or even come off as aloof or awkward. The attitudes and beliefs of other people are beyond your control. However, you can take action to enhance workplace social interactions.
When necessary, express your condition and needs. The stigma around impairments is frequently brought on by misunderstandings or ignorance on the part of the general public. Discussing your impairment could make people feel more comfortable around you. For instance, you may let your employees know if you have autism and have trouble interpreting nonverbal indications. Once more, only divulge information if you feel at ease doing so.
The Sensational Museum
‘Using what we know about disability to change how museums work for everyone’ is the tagline for The Sensational Museum
Led by Professor Hannah Thompson from Royal Holloway, University of London, The Sensational Museum is a £1 million pound-funded project by the Arts and Humanities Research Council whose goal is to alter current access methods and introduce a deeper sense of inclusivity within the museum sector in the UK.
Thompson is joined by a plethora of professionals on this project who unite on the idea that disability needs need to be put at the centre of all museums’ strategies going forward. There is Social Design specialist Anne Chick from the University of Lincoln; Psychologist Alison Eardley from the University of Westminster; and Museum Studies expert Ross Parry from the University of Leicester. They will work together between April 2023 and July 2025 to really transform the way disabled and non-disabled people interact with the art and each other in museums in the future.
Collaborating with museum staff as well as disabled and non-disabled visitors, the more-than-equipped team will be looking into two core areas: new ways of accessing museum collections and cataloguing objects in a more inclusive way. The key idea is to acknowledge and put into practice the fact that the needs of diverse visitors are all unique and not everyone absorbs art in the same way. Sector organisations include VocalEyes, an initiative that works towards inclusion for the visually impaired and blind in the arts and heritage sector, Curating for Change which helps create career paths for the disabled community, and the Museums Association, a membership organisation that campaigns for socially engaged museums. They will all be on hand to offer acute advice and inspiration as to how this project can create innovative change within museums across the country.
“Many people want or need to access and process information in ways that are not only – or not entirely – visual. But museums are very sight-dependent places. Let’s imagine a museum experience that plays to whichever senses work best for you. The project aims to give all visitors inclusive, engaging, enjoyable and memorable experiences,” Professor Hannah Thompson.
Visit The Sensational Museum website to stay up-to-date with this project and how it’s developing. It has the capacity to create real social justice and impact the disabled community and how they will be able to engage with art in a more inclusive way in the future.
All I Want For Digital Campaign Calls for Inclusive Future
All I Want For Digital is Knocking Down Disability Accessibility Barriers Online Worldwide
Global digital transformation agency Cyber-Duck has launched the ‘All I Want For Digital’ campaign, which aims to remove digital accessibility barriers worldwide. Diverse users of the internet need to be heard and listened to. Is there enough being done to include them across all digital channels? Data from WebAIM, shows not, with less than 3% of website homepages being truly accessible to all users, meaning that the majority feel excluded from what most people take for granted. This is exactly what the #AllIWantForDigital campaign is shining a light on; the need for all brands, companies, and individuals to work harder to make all their digital experiences inclusive.
‘Ask yourself, what one thing would make digital better for everyone?’
This is the question Cyber-Duck team members asked a group of campaigners, Paralympians, creators and personalities with visible and hidden disabilities. The goal was to learn about their positive and negative experiences of online interactions in order to provide the world with inspiration to better the digital world.
Former tech journalist Rory Cellan-Jones, comedy writer Sara Gibbs, author and campaigner Sandi Wassmer and gold medal Paralympian Giles Long are amongst others, featured in the campaign as representatives of people living with disabilities and how they’re affected by non-inclusive digital experiences. They share their reasons why they want to see positive change in this space. Take Mik Scarlet, TV presenter, co-CEO Phab, and wheelchair user, who says, “I want people who design or own a website or app to have a mind shift change. To stop thinking that they’re designing for disabled people or for those people over there and remember that good products work for everybody.”
Danny Bluestone, CEO and Founder of Cyber-Duck says, “Whether you are trying to pay utility bills online, order groceries, find gifts for friends and family, apply for a job or keep in touch over the holidays, no one should feel excluded because of poorly designed digital experiences, which are not inclusive.”
Bluestone explains further that this inclusive mindset should be adopted at the first stage of a web design, “Accessibility guidelines are a tick box activity for some. But we and our campaign partners want to see more positive action taken to design with inclusivity in mind, creating accessible experiences, which benefit everyone. Accessibility can’t be an after-thought and can’t be solved with plug-ins.”
The campaign has been supported by key charities and initiatives including the Royal Association for Deaf People, Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion, para-sports
classification organisation LEXI, disabled children’s community Phab, digital disability awareness training platform AbilityNet, and the British Interactive Media Association, which supports the next generation of digital professionals through knowledge sharing and developing talent. This campaign alongside this powerful group of initiatives together have the power to create impactful solutions to improve the usability of digital products for everyone.
Take a look at the All I Want For Digital campaign here.
Tatiana Lee: Advocating for Accessibility and Inclusion in Media and Tech
Tatiana Lee is an award-winning disability inclusion and accessibility consultant, producer, model, actor and activist
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, Included is proud to be sharing in the joys of women and their successes. International Women’s day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. The globally-celebrated day was initiated in 1908 when women marched through the streets of New York calling for higher pay, shorter hours and the opportunity to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America celebrated the first National Woman’s Day. Notably, today we will be celebrating Tatiana Lee, Apple TV+ Accessibility Lead.
Tatiana Lee is an award-winning disability inclusion and accessibility consultant and is herself a wheelchair user. She has also modelled in campaigns for Apple, Target, Zappos, and a host of others. Lee’s activism was influenced by the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the media and entertainment industry. Her passion and commitment to creating a more inclusive Hollywood and creating accessible working places pushed her to advocate for accessibility and disability visibility in the entertainment scene.
She was known to be very consistent on social media platforms — raising awareness and seeing that emerging disabled creatives access opportunities to be included in Hollywood films and other entertainment platforms. Speaking on her experience of navigating the entertainment industry as a disabled woman of colour, Lee expressed that “I have discovered a more profound passion advocating for accessibility and inclusion in Media and Tech.” She continued,“I never thought six years later that I will be taking on a role that encompasses all those passions into one,” Lee said.
However, Lee’s advocacy, consultation, and production projects won her numerous awards, notable among them was the Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Producers Award. Most of her works were featured by reputable media outlets, including Forbes, CNET, Washington Post, and Apple Newsroom.
Tatiana Lee is not only an incredible example of what disabled women can achieve but her work is also increasing opportunities and improving the lives of disabled women.