Why accessibility is good for your business
Like everyone else, people with disabilities want to buy things and get involved in community life. If your business isn't accessible, you could be missing out on a significant number of customers.
Having an accessible business also ensures you obey the law. A person with a disability has the right to access any public area or place, including shops, restaurants, pubs, sporting venues, cinemas, government offices and banks. Not providing proper access to your business may be illegal under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
How can you improve accessibility?
Accessibility is not just about physical barriers such as steps. It also includes:
- how you treat people
- assumptions you make about people
- how you engage with people with speech difficulties, and who are hearing or vision impaired.
Here are some practical ways to improve the accessibility of your business:
- hire friendly, flexible staff
- use removable chairs
- have a step-less entry
- ensure there's enough space to move around
- use levels on doors, rather than round doorknobs
- don't over-service by removing control from the customer
- consider the extra time it may take some customers to do or say things
For more information, including a self-assessment of your business, visit the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission's Come in, we're accessible page.
What are we doing?
We've worked with a number of other councils to develop the YouMeUs — Achieving Inclusion program. This offers tools to train your staff and volunteers to enhance inclusive practices in the workplace.
For more information, visit our YouMeUs page.
We've also produced four videos with tips on improving accessibility and attracting more customers with a disability to your business.
Each video has key messages on four main areas: