Breaking barriers: from Paralympic podiums to office spaces


The summer of 2024 is an exciting time for sports, with numerous international competitions taking place. Following the Olympic Games in Paris, the Paralympic Games will kick off at the end of August, on the 28th to be exact. Incredible athletes have competed for the Netherlands over the years, like the tennis players Esther Vergeer and Diede de Groot, whose achievements in winning Olympic medals are a testament to their dedication and talent. However, an interesting question arises: could these athletes transition from the sports stadiums to something as simple as an office environment, or would physical barriers prevent their success? 

This question highlights the critical need for accessible workplaces. When renting office space, it's essential to ensure the environment is accessible to all employees, regardless of their physical condition. Discover the factors to consider when looking for a new office, in order to create an inclusive workplace that supports and empowers every team member. 

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Office space barriers 

As two gold medalists, Diede de Groot and Esther Vergeer are pioneers in Paralympic tennis. Their stories are incredibly inspiring, demonstrating that physical limitations do not define one’s potential. However, while the sports field is adapted to meet the needs of athletes with disabilities, the corporate world often falls short in providing the same level of accommodation. 

Despite advancements in technology and increasing awareness of inclusivity, many office spaces still pose significant challenges for professionals with disabilities. Physical barriers, such as the lack of ramps, narrow doorways, and inadequate restroom facilities, can make navigating the workplace difficult. Traditional office layouts with fixed desks and cramped meeting rooms often do not accommodate mobility devices or the need for additional space.  

Additionally, the absence of Braille signage, screen reader-compatible software, and visual or auditory aids, can significantly hinder blind and deaf people’s ability to perform effectively in a standard office environment.  

How to ensure accessibility in the office?  

Choosing the right office space is essential for creating a truly inclusive workplace that addresses the diverse needs of employees with various disabilities. Although laws mandate certain accessibility standards, implementation can be inconsistent. 

When in the market for a new office space, there are a few key aspects you need to pay attention to, the first of them being wheelchair accessibility. Make sure the building your future office is in features ramps, wide doorways, and accessible restroom facilities. Elevators are another essential element, and they should be large enough to comfortably fit wheelchairs and have controls within easy reach for individuals with disabilities. Moreover, adjustable desks and spacious layouts that allow for easy movement are other important aspects to take into account.  

On the other hand, accommodating blind and deaf employees requires different measures to ensure accessibility and effective communication in the workplace. For visually impaired professionals, this includes implementing features like Braille signage and tactile pathways, as well as ensuring all technology is compatible with screen readers. Additionally, providing visual aids and captioning for videos supports deaf employees, while devices such as video relay services and hearing loops enhance communication accessibility, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for all team members. 

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The transition from Paralympic podiums to office desks is not just a hypothetical scenario but a call to action. It challenges us to reflect on our workplaces and ask: Are we providing adequate support and empowerment for all professionals?  

Contact our experts today to explore a diverse selection of office spaces designed to accommodate your entire team, without exceptions. Reach out to us today, share your requirements, and discover the perfect office space for rent for your company in no time.  

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