What is an adaptive device and how can it increase accessibility at work?
An adaptive device is any kind of technology that helps individuals with disabilities access and use everyday products, services, and activities in a more efficient and effective manner.
They include a wide range of devices, from simple modifications to assistive technology, such as an ergonomic keyboard, to complex computer systems that use speech recognition or assistive software. Adaptive devices are important for accessibility because they help level the playing field for people with disabilities, allowing them to participate in activities, access services, and use products that may have been previously inaccessible.
Assistive technology in the workplace
To build an inclusive workplace where everyone is empowered to perform their best, it's essential that the workplace and tools are designed to meet everyone's needs. This, of course, includes people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.
Adaptive devices at work can be used to assist with things like mobility, communication, or learning activities - all depending on the user’s individual needs. The goal of assistive devices is to enable people with disabilities to do what they need to do safely, conveniently, and independently.
By providing an alternative to the traditional ways of completing certain tasks, adaptive equipment can help individuals with disabilities access participate and contribute fully. Adaptive devices also help reduce the risk of injury at work by providing safe, comfortable, and efficient ways to complete work tasks.
Getting employee feedback on workplace, tools and accessibility
The best way to find out how well your workplace environment, tools, and technologies are working for your employees, is to ask them. Tools, tech, and workplace, in general, is an important driver of employee engagement, that has a fundamental impact on the employee experience. For this reason, "Workplace and tools" is one of the 11 employee engagement drivers measured by Eletive's standard employee surveys. The standards surveys consist of a science-based questions battery that covers the most important aspects of the employee experience, and allows you to track how they evolve. You can also connect action plans to the drivers, to measure how different HR initiatives impact the survey results over time.
Employee surveys and accessibility
For your employees to be able to give their feedback, you need to ensure the employee surveys you send out are accessible to everyone. The Eletive platform follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This means that all employees, including the ones who use assistive tools and devices such as Voice Over, are able to easily access and complete the employee surveys.
Examples of adaptive devices at work
There are a variety of adaptive devices available today. Some of the most common types of adaptive devices include:
Wheelchairs and scooters
Voice recognition software
Ergonomic keyboards or mouse alternatives
Augmentative and assistive communication systems
Adapted computer screens
Screen reading assistance
Adaptive devices can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the type of device will depend on the individual’s needs. Some devices may be used for short-term purposes, while others may need to be used continuously over a long period of time.
In addition to the devices listed above, there are also a variety of other adaptive devices available, such as hearing aids, vision aids, and mobility aids. These devices can help individuals with disabilities to live more independently and to participate more fully in their work, as well as in social gatherings at work.
How to choose the right adaptive devices
When choosing an adaptive device, it is important to consider each individual’s needs and abilities. It's important to evaluate whether the device meets safety requirements and is easy to use. When selecting an adaptive device, most companies consult with a healthcare professional or therapist to ensure that the device is appropriate for the individual’s needs. It can also be helpful to speak to other individuals who have used similar devices and get their feedback and input.