Top 5 Reasons to get an Access Audit
Next time you are out and about and fall into conversation with someone ask them whether they know anyone with a disability. In March 2019 the Government’s Family Resources Survey was published and showed that:
- 44% of State Pension age adults reported a disability
- As did 18% of working age adults
- & 8% of children.
That’s some 13.3 million of us and roughly 1 in 5. It’s also an increase of 18% from the previous survey in 2008. You’ll agree that the numbers are a huge proportion of the population but, in reality, it is likely to be even more than that. That doesn’t even account for those with temporary illness and aliments.
And this is where you and your organisation make a positive impact.
By organising an access audit of your building you will be setting out on a journey which is going to yield some hefty results. Some of them are so subtle you won’t notice right away. However, enough are going to be so positive that you’ll want to examine access in much greater detail just to see what other benefits there are for your organisation out there, just waiting to be found.
We’ll be chatting through the legal perspective of why you should do an access audit in another article because for now it’s worth focusing on the other important elements in our Top Five Reasons to get an Access Audit.
1) An Access Audit helps Everyone, Everywhere
Did you know that less than 8% of disabled people use wheelchairs? Wheelchair access might be the first thing that springs to mind but actually a vast number of impairments just aren’t visible. Not only do some people have more than one impairment but they are also likely to have a non-visible impairment. Which means that the majority of people might not even appear disabled.
Being tall, short, carpal tunnel syndrome or perhaps just a fractured wrist, broken ribs, sore neck… the list goes on. It contains thousands of points which can be a pain day to day but amount to problems we all face. Problems that can be overcome with small every day changes, some clever design and access planning. Access for everyone, everywhere is a major goal. A goal which can start with an access audit and lead to where ever we all want to go.
2) An Access Audit helps People
The American author Earl Nightingale once said that ‘our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations‘.
If we want to have dynamic and high performing teams in both the workplace and in society in general, then starting work from the ground up is worth a lot. There are a lot of buzz words surrounding teams and management. At the core of them all is that if people feel at ease in their environment, whatever and wherever that is, then productivity and performance improves. Access audits can aid organisations in working smarter, not harder by optimising the environment for your most important assets – people.
Then add in the concept that an access audit can actually support everyone, everywhere and you can really see obvious return on investment – right across your entire organisation.
3) An Access Audit helps Cash Flow
We all know that businesses live and die by cash flow. It is one of the fundamental economics of micro businesses or global corporate. One of the few points where no matter what the size of the organisation they are all equally at risk.
Now consider that over 6.5 million households include 1 or more people with a long term illness or disability. That is a huge amount of wealth and spending power.
The spending power of disabled people is known as the Purple Pound and an access audit is a starting point for making the changes necessary to optimise your organisation so it best supports potential customers. There are occasions where business owners are reluctant to make the change because they don’t see disabled customers. This is a fallacy for two reasons.
- There are visual and non-visual impairments. The business owner might have simply not seen that their environment is not catering to disabled customers.
- According to the Papworth Trust three quarters of disabled people have left a shop or business because of poor disability awareness or lack of suitable facilities.
It isn’t a complex calculation for us all to make, nor is it a secret. There is a recognised market out there that any organisation can access and £212 Billion says it’s worth a look.
4) An Access Audit helps with Everyday Design
Have you ever done that thing with a door where you push when you should have pulled, or vice versa? Most of us have and most of us have also felt a bit of a plonker for getting it wrong. But what if it wasn’t your fault?
One of the constituent parts of an access audit is signage and whilst a door handle isn’t signage the analogy does fit the purpose because like the handle, signage could be counter-intuitive.
Consider that door again. Look a little closer and you might see a tiny sign on it saying ‘push’ but there isn’t a push plate (that would be far too simple). Instead, this door has a pull handle. Most of us would pull because that is what is instinctive but in reality the design is what is wrong here, not our intellect.
Signage is often taken for granted by many but it is an essential part of making your way around the world and when signs are poorly marked or plain and simply confusing it makes life harder for everyone, everywhere.
5) An Access Audit helps with Recruitment & Employment
Down the river from Perito HQ is a huge piece of land that held an oil refinery and the plan is now to make this site a mega hub for transportation of goods into London, whether by the river or by road. The refinery used to be a traditional employer and when it shut it had a significant impact of the local workforce.
Despite its automation and modern technology it this new site is going to need people. People who will live, work and visit the businesses and facilities that will make up the new site. The plan is that some 50% of the workers will be taken from a talent pool in the surrounding area.
If you have ever been involved in recruitment you will know that finding the right skill set is often hard and with the further restriction of finding the staff from within the local area places more strain on finding the right talent, first time.
This is where an access audit can help. By opening up your environment you will naturally be able to attract the greatest array of talent to your organisation. Think back to the stat at the top of the blog. 1 in 5 people report a disability.
Now, it could be that your organisation might still chance upon the individual with the niche set of skills that you need. An access audit would be a starter for ten in making your organisation more attractive to work for that chances are that candidate will come to you.
There you have it. 5 great reasons to get accessible, all you need to do is make that start. Thanks for reading and if you found the article interesting please share it around and help get the word out about how important accessibility and getting an access audit really is!
Together, we are Perito