One myth surrounding the provision of equal access to the workplace environment for people with disabilities is that workplace accommodations are costly and can take a significant amount of time to implement. The truth is that oftentimes simple solutions can be implemented internally that will significantly improve an employees performance in workplace. These simple workplace improvements can be achieved through the use of “soft” accommodations and embedded technology.
A soft accommodation is a physical workplace adjustment that will allow a qualified individual to better perform their job functions.
These solutions simply consist of an agreement with management about how the employee’s work environment can be adjusted to improve the ability of the individual to perform work tasks; therefore incurring no cost. Some soft accommodations include seating relocation, removal of environmental disturbances, and placement of instructions for frequently used equipment. When implemented properly, soft accommodations can be an effective method of individual accommodation while maintaining a productive work environment.
Embedded technology refers to the accessibility features that are already native to the average computer workstation. Windows 7, a growing standard in the Federal community, has shown the most improvement in native accessibility features of any Microsoft operating system to date. These embedded features are often found through the Control Panel tab under “accessibility options”. They include screen magnification, color contrast, speech recognition, and audio narration. We recommend trying these basic features before making use of more powerful external software.
For more information on what CAP does to accommodate individuals with disabilities in the Federal government, please visit www.tricare.mil/ CAP.