For a variety of reasons, employees may require accommodations in their office spaces. Meeting these requests is imperative, and you want your employees to feel safe, comfortable and welcomed in the office. Accommodation requests vary, and understanding strategies for managing these requests is imperative.
Understand the Range of Requests
Knowing what types of requests you might receive can help the department to start preparing the necessary accommodations. For example, you may receive requests from employees who need to work on the first floor in a building without an elevator due to medical conditions, or you may learn of employees who need a better air quality due to respiratory conditions. Other employees may need specific accommodations made to the technology so that they can use the tools efficiently.
If you are granting some requests and denying others without a proper system in place, your employees may simply assume that the accommodations are managed based on favoritism. Establishing a clear set of protocols and procedures for managing requests is necessary. Keep in mind that some requests may require simple modifications, such as switching chairs between two offices, that do not necessitate a specified procedure. On the other hand, a request to move offices to a floor that currently lacks available offices will likely require a more detailed procedure.
Consider Alternative Options
Recognize that the process may take some time. For example, you may need to look into an executive office space rental to meet the needs of your employees. Another possibility is that your company will have to purchase new equipment and furniture. In other words, the changes might not be as simple as you originally think. While you are preparing the space, you may want to consider letting employees work from home. In the event that working from home is not an option, you must ensure that the employees are accommodated temporarily until the permanent changes are in place.
Announce the Policy
You may have employees who could benefit from accommodations to their office space but feel intimidated about asking. Once you have the policy in place, you should publicize it to the office. Let employees know that accommodations are available, and inform them as to what the criteria are for having their accommodations granted. This conversation should be one that boosts morale; in other words, do not make a request for accommodations sound as though it is a nuisance.
Making accommodations for your employees is important. You want them to know that they are valued and that you want to support them at work.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan