Some tips to make the workplace inclusive for blind colleagues
Private and corporate companies are going more inclusive and hiring people with disabilities in their work force. When you have a blind co-worker, it is important to not judge them based on their disability. In order to make work environment healthier and productive, there are some tips to follow when you have a blind or visually impaired colleague.
Today, corporate and private companies are going more inclusive and employing people with disabilities in different positions. Hence, it is important to know basic etiquettes on how to interact with a person who has a disability. That will make work place more fun and interesting.
When you have a co-worker who is blind or visually impaired, it is important to not arrive at judgements regarding what they can or cannot do. Making your interactions respective and productive is very important for you and the other person to grow professionally.
Simran Chawla, who is visually impaired, says that she appreciates when people ask her questions directly instead of assuming things.
Most people think that when you are a blind person, you cannot think and answer for yourself. I have noticed many people asking questions about me to someone who is with me. I often find this weird and insulting because I can talk for myself. Even today, people are unaware about disabilities and that is very sad. Greeting me with a Hi or Hello at my work place would also be a great thing because I’am unable to recognise people from their voices-Simran Chawla.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you work with a blind colleague
- Identify yourself– People have to interact a lot at work places. This can be professional or personal interactions. When you are having a conversation with a blind or visually impaired person, make sure to introduce yourself first in a casual manner. Similarly, if the blind person is attending a meeting, introduce them to all the others who are participating.
- Ask questions if needed– Many people are sceptical and hesitant to ask questions about a disability. When you have a blind or visually impaired colleague, you will often come across assistive technologies that they use. If you are curious and wants to know about it, ask them. A person with disability prefers you asking them questions instead of arriving at your own conclusions.
- Do not walk away– This is one of the most common mistakes which most people do. They walk away when a blind person talks, but most of the times this happens unknowingly. If you are having a conversation with a blind person, tell them before you leave the room. Not getting responses while conversing can be irritating and frustrating for a person.
- Go easy on technology– Blind and visually impaired people have a lot of assistive devices that they use to make daily lives and even work easier. For some, accessing technology is easy but for many others it is not. As a co-worker or team manager, make sure to use technologies that are easy for the blind person to access. You can talk to them and find out what they are comfortable with before starting to use advanced technologies at work spaces.
“Do not sympathise with a blind person because you do not know what they can or cannot achieve. When you work together with a blind person, come forward and introduce yourselves. When we do not approach, don’t think that we are being arrogant. There are some people who even gets irritated when we initiate to say a hello”, says Kritica Purohit, who is visually impaired.