Why you should focus on Deaf Awareness in the workplace during (and after) the pandemic
Please do bear with us… This might sound like "another blog talking about the same subject", but we cannot overemphasize the need to improve communication, help to remove barriers and include your D/deaf colleagues, now more than ever.
The pandemic has highlighted many existing communication issues and brought up some new ones too, for example isolation and social distance. Mask wearing is particularly difficult for communication if you rely on lipreading to support your communication.
If you as an employer have any deaf staff members, you should always take into account the reasonable adjustments required to accommodate them. Please do remember that this is not only good management and good business sense, but it is required by law under the Equality Act. Not only will your d/Deaf staff be so much happier in their work, the easy communication which results will allow for a more efficient and effective workforce, which has to be good all-around doesn’t it?
Deaf workers, where they are given the opportunity, are committed and engaged; the only thing they need is the right support, tools and encouragement to perform to their full potential and be productive in what they do. You can make this happen with the power of Deaf Awareness!
UNDERSTAND YOUR DEAF EMPLOYEES' NEEDS
Whether you are working remotely or face to face you might need to ask your d/Deaf staff if they have a support requirement in order to access information and improve communication within the workplace, such as:
Clear face masks for the staff
Live captioning and British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters in meetings, conference calls and training sessions
Special equipment (assistive technology) for the workplace, such as microphones, textphones or hearing loops
➤ ACCESS TO WORK COULD HELP
Your deaf employee might be eligible to receive an Access to Work (AtW) grant. AtW is a UK Government scheme that provides support to people in employment in the UK who have a disability or a physical or mental health condition. This can effectively make the costs of support and adaptions FREE to employers.
DEAF AWARENESS TRAINING – it does what it says on the tin! Raising awareness helps make the workplace a happier environment for everyone!
Nearly all companies have Staff Development Programmes to ensure all Staff members receive training updates. Why not add Deaf Awareness to your schedule? AtW can pay for this training too – FREE does have to be the best value for any staff training doesn’t it?
During this period of Social Distancing, our Deaf Awareness Training is available ONLINE via Teams & Zoom to all our customers and clients. You can find out more information about the variety of Deaf Awareness courses we offer to help the workplace become inclusive of people with hearing loss.
It is of huge importance to recognise the additional barriers that your Deaf employees might encounter during the current situation and make some reasonable adjustments to aid communication for all staff. As a business owner you have the power to make remote and face to face working accessible for all and ensure your employees can undertake their roles efficiently and effectively, to the benefit of all concerned.