Inclusion and Accessibility in Office Buildings
Office Buildings and The American Disabilities Act
In the United States, nearly one in five people suffer from some sort of disability. This means that the vast majority of workplaces have disabled persons on their team.
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires companies to comply with certain guidelines, but these days expectations outpace the law. Companies are pulling out all the stops to accommodate those with disabilities, and one of the ways they’re doing this is by ensuring office space is accessible and inclusive.
Here are a few ways to ensure your building will suit every company’s needs:
Have an Accessibility Expert to Audit Your Building
Getting a professional to evaluate your building is usually a good first step. An assessor can tell you what you need to change to be both ethical and competitive in the real estate market. They can also help you determine which changes will get you the highest return on investment as a building owner – after all, the ultimate goal is profit.
Have an expert audit your building regularly, as regulations and standards change often and you might not be up to speed. When it comes to accessibility, outside support is key.
Prioritize Facility Access
This is the element of accessible workspaces you have the most control over, so be sure to prioritize it. From accessible parking spaces to proper lighting to unobstructed paths and ramps, there are plenty of ways you can make the last few minutes of an employee’s commute hassle-free.
Inside, avoid putting steps to divide levels of the same floor, and ensure there is an elevator in multi-storey buildings. Passageways must be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility aid. Counters, switches, and doorknobs should be low enough for both employees and clients to reach. If you already have built-in offices or cubicles, make sure the square footage is sufficient for a wheelchair to move around with ease.
Ask Your Tenants for Feedback
Ask your current tenants for feedback on the accessibility of your building. What improvements would they like to see? Offering spaces that lend to inclusivity boost your overall competitiveness.
By making accessibility features an integral part of the space, building owners can play a role in normalizing inclusivity in the workplace. While there are some features that are non-negotiable, flexible, customizable spaces are key to marketing a building.
Our South Florida commercial real estate attorney can also offer feedback on the accessibility features you should – or are legally required to – include in your building. To learn more about our services, give us a call today at (954) 779-7009.