Accessibility is the Name of the Game for a Solid Workforce

There continues to be a lot of fighting, debate, and discussion around the trends of ‘Quiet Quitting or Acting Your Wage’ with many managers and bosses come out swinging against it (Elon Musk being one of the most outspoken) and many workers demanding they be allowed to continue the remote work they have been doing the past two years or to work in a hybrid model.

And so the fighting goes: many people pointing out that they can’t do their job from home (nurses, doctors, fast food workers, retail workers), rolling their eyes at the fight; middle managers demanding that people come back to the office for the sake of the workplace culture, causing workers to roll their eyes and point out that they worked just fine over the pandemic (if not better) and neither side is willing to give an inch.

But what is the fight about at the bottom, the unspoken element: accessibility.

Accessibility in the Workplace

More workers and many bosses are realizing that the workplace of the modern age is no longer about presence: butts in chairs doesn’t mean as much anymore. Although the one who originally said that meant that it’s important to get people face to face (Marissa Mayer), it can work just as easily the other way. The goal is to get the right people connected in the right way to do their work. So, if you have work that can be done remotely and people who want to do it remotely, let it happen there! And many people are perfectly willing to go with a hybrid model as long as everything is clearly laid out and boundaries are maintained. Businesses should be taking a look at the work that needs doing, who is doing it, and where best for them to do it for themselves and the business.

It’s not just accessibility in terms of where people are working though; it’s easier to bring people on board who don’t do well in a traditional workplace but will do fantastic when working from home. For example, people who have a higher peak of productivity at weird hours of the day, some disabilities, people with autism, or people who need to work at home in order to get the support they need or manage appointments, have a family to take care of, and other things. This opens up the business’s ability to find the best workforce for their needs.

The Benefits of Being More Accessible

We have talked about the benefits and importance of hiring neurodivergent people and people with handicaps. Accessibility is of growing importance to businesses, often from the customer and client side, but it’s starting to grow on the employee side as well. Covid-19 certainly pushed this trend forward with many people realizing that they could do their job without needing to go to an office; now the trick is to keep it going in a way that is sustainable to the business and the workers, as well as their customers.

So what are the benefits?

  • A more diverse and wider hiring pool to draw from
  • Smaller buildings required which means cheaper utilities and less money to pay for a lease or rent
  • A competitive edge over businesses that are losing talent due to demands to return to the office clashing with what employees want

Accessibility in terms of where and when people want to work and how that integrates with the business will likely become quite a competitive edge when it comes to getting the best people for the job, but in order to work, the ones in charge of hiring people has to be able to even more precisely hire the right people for the right job. So, if you’re looking at hiring people to work from home and work different hours, it’s important to be very upfront about that, as it is to be upfront about hiring people to work in the physical building.

Clear Expectations

Businesses should always strive for clear expectations as part of their hiring process and the push for hybrid work models or work from home models has made this even more clear. Hiring managers cannot simply assume that people will clock in and clock out over a block of time anymore and must be clear about what is needed and what is flexible. While this may be more work in the short term (and cause some eye rolling), in the long term, it helps to ensure that you have people working in the right place with a clear understanding of where they work, what they do, and when.

Most people do a lot better given a firm structure to work under with a clear path. Adding the where to work and hours of expected work simply adds to this structure and shouldn’t cause much of an issue once it’s integrated properly into the overall hiring strategy.

Will accessibility become firmly entrenched in the 2023 hiring trends? It’s unclear right now as it’s easy to muddle it up with simply hiring people with disabilities and neurodivergent people, but the meaning of the term may yet broaden to capture the reality that many people simply don’t see the value in working for eight to ten hours in a cubicle or open concept office when they can get their work done from home and cut out the stressful commutes and expensive trappings that working in an office often entails.

What do you think about accessibility meaning where, who, and how we work, and will it become more important or less in the next year? Sound off on our Facebook page.

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