AUTHORED BY COLE STERR
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. On this final day in October, we’re looking at some of the cool features implemented in buildings, including some of our own developments, to honor hard-working employees with disabilities nationwide.
First, every public accommodation needs to be up-to-code based on mandates from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Common accessibility features include wheelchair ramps, elevators, retrofitted restroom stalls, automatic doors and braille communications.
However, there are some features that go above and beyond what’s mandated by law to accommodate employees with disabilities. Consider the following innovative features from The Guardian, a British daily newspaper:
- Quiet HVAC systems to cater to the needs of people with autism, who can be hypersensitive to sound, light and movement and help them feel at ease while in a public building.
- Simple, neutral and clean interior design to help employees feel a sense of calm.
- Adjustable height sinks and accessible toilets to accommodate those who are disabled so they can easily wash their hands and use the bathroom comfortably and efficiently.
- Drive-through lifts so that employees who use wheelchairs don’t have to turn around and position themselves in an elevator to get from one floor to the next.
- Ceiling hoists to lift and/or move employees who are disabled for increased efficiency and comfort.
- Beacon navigation systems that provide directions to people who are visually impaired while in a building. These systems usually provide audio cues via Bluetooth like “approaching escalator on right” or “automated doors on left.”
For more information, you can view the full article titled What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like? on The Guardian’s website.
Creating Deep Roots in Our Properties
At United Properties, we’re working to create deep roots with employees and tenants who are disabled so they can do what they do best in our properties.
Take the Kickernick building, for example. With its recent renovations, we gutted the lobby and re-routed the new entrance to accommodate disabled tenants and building visitors. We’ve also installed new push buttons and wheelchair ramps to make the new entrance more accessible. Additionally, there are heart defibrillators available in the building that can be tracked by an app on your phone in case anyone needs medical assistance.
As another example, at Prime Therapeutics, we included mental health notices on electronic message screens to encourage Prime employees to prioritize their mental health. This implementation encourages a healthy mental state in the workplace to accommodate those who may be dealing with stress on the job.
The Importance of Accessibility
Accessibility matters. It’s crucial that public space can be accessed, used and enjoyed by everyone using spaces, regardless of their physical abilities.
At United Properties, we’re striving to ensure our properties are inclusive and available for employees who are disabled so that we can fulfill our mission of creating deep roots within our communities. That said, happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month!