The Economic Times
12,248.2567.9
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

How inclusive is your workplace? This story will make you look around

, ET Spotlight|
Updated: Dec 06, 2019, 10.36 AM IST
0Comments
ET Spotlight
Banner 400_300
For a lot of us, water and coffee breaks are the most exciting part of our otherwise humdrum 9-6. Of course, that’s where we exchange our daily dose of gossip, shake ourselves up for the task at hand, and get the perfect opportunity to ask the super boss about his family and vacations. Oh, and not to forget, coffee is the elixir that helps us survive the drill. There’s no reason to not love coffee breaks for you but for someone like Jatin Daniel Jon, it wasn’t his happy place.

Jatin suffers from Duchene muscular dystrophy(DMD) - a genetic disorder that causes progressive weakness and loss (atrophy) of skeletal and heart muscles. As a result, he uses a wheelchair. After surviving a bleak prognosis, he decided to be independent and started looking out for jobs. When he started to work in the government sector, he realised basic things like accessible washrooms were simply not available. His daily agony involved either carrying a urinal or making visits to the nearest metro station for accessible washroom.

His next job with the Bank of America, nestled in Candor TechSpace in Gurugram, made these most basic accessibility issues a thing of the past. He could access the business spark, his office and a washroom designed for people with disabilities, without a breaking a sweat.

Banner 2 - 1000x1000

His coffee breaks though, were still a tad lonely. When his friends would take breaks from work for a caffeine energy boost, he couldn’t. The pantry area had steps that he couldn’t navigate on a wheelchair. It wasn’t a good feeling to miss out on little joys of life that you share with your colleagues. Then one day Jatin decided to write to the Candor team. He was taking a chance without much of an expectation, but to his surprise - he did get a reply. The Candor team responded saying his request will be dealt with right away and it was. A ramp was added for Jatin to access the coffee break, hangout zone.

Jatin Daniel Jon is not alone. As per Census 2011, in India, out of the 121 Cr population, about 2.68 Cr persons are ‘disabled’ which is 2.21% of the total population. Well thought out and well implemented universal accessibility designs in physical spaces can completely change the life experiences of persons with disabilities.

To establish wholly inclusive workplaces, every building, office park, and office space needs to go the Candor TeachSpace way. The start can be made by conducting an access audit, mapping existing infrastructure against accessibility standards and ensuring the audit findings are used to bring about infrastructure upgrades.All existing buildings today can be upgraded in accordance with Ministry of Urban Development’s ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for the Differently Abled and Elderly Persons’ and the National Building Code, 2016. Candor TechSpace has gone a step ahead, hiring international consultants to ensure that any new construction complies with the highest standards of universal design.

Here is a brief look at the accessibility infrastructure under implementation at the Candor TechSpace campuses:

Pathways: The campuses will have segregated pedestrian walkways with tactile pavers to aid navigation and kerb ramps at crossings to help negotiate level differences.

Parking: In every tower, there will be reserved car parking near the elevator lobby or building entrance for persons with disabilities, complete with transfer bay, directional signage and floor signage with international symbol of accessibility.

Drop-off Areas: The drop-off areas will have smooth surface with kerb ramps to negotiate level differences and tactile markings to aid navigation.

Lobbies: The building lobbies will have automatic/ easy-to-operate glass doors with high-contrast manifestations, accessible receptioncounters, tactile markings and railings to aid navigation and an accessible floor directory with information in Braille/ tactile/audio format.

Elevators: There will be a floor directory and signage in high contrast in the elevator lobby. The elevator controls will be at an accessible height. Call buttons and lift controls will feature raised letters and Braille. There will also be audio announcements indicating the floor and railing on three sides of the elevator.

Staircase: There will be railings on both sides of the staircase and landings. Writing in Braille at the landings will state the floor numbers.

Amenity Block: The food court will have accessible counters, furniture, hand wash and restrooms.The F&B menus and vending machines will feature Braille writing, raised letters, audio and accessible heights.

Landscaped Areas: There will be ramps and steps with railings to ensure level differences. The areas will also feature anti-skid surfaces, tactile ground surface indicators and accessible seating arrangements.

Toilets: There will be accessible unisex as well as ladies/gents’ washrooms. The unisex toilets will be fully compliant with accessibility standards in terms of doors, fixtures and accessories, grab bars, layout and turning radius, lighting, emergency alarm systems and signage. There will be provision of dedicated restroom cubicles for persons with ambulatory disabilities in gents and ladies washrooms.

Emergency Evacuation: There will be fire exits with ramps, steps and railings; tactile warning blocks; nosing strips; photo-luminescent strips and signage; safe assembly areas (with seating that will be accessible through segregated walkways with kerb ramps and tactile ground surface indicators); visual strobes in all common areas within the towers; directional signage to fire exits and safe assembly areas; and provision of evacuation chairs. Evacuation plans with information in Braille and tactile format will be installed in all common areas.

For specially abled people like Jatin, these small steps of inclusivity go a long way in boosting their work life quality and morale. He joined Bank of America as a senior team member and within two years was promoted to the post of team developer. He was also awarded for his performance last year - breaking the stereotype that physical limitations restrict your productivity. If you were to meet Jatin today, you’ll find him smiling. His workplace enables him to be the star of his own life.

Disclaimer: This article is an ET Spotlight partnership initiative with Brookfield Properties.

(This article is generated and published by ET Spotlight team. You can get in touch with them on etspotlight@timesinternet.in)
Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links


Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service