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Role of FM in fostering an accessible and inclusive environment

By Konnor Baskaran, FM Lead at mpro5

Creating an accessible and inclusive workplace environment has become a hot topic in recent years. As described by Verna Myers, diversity is “being invited to the party: inclusion is being asked to dance”. In short, diversity refers to empowering individuals by accepting, respecting and appreciating their differences.

Workplace inclusion involves the implementation of standardised organisational practices that ensure employees of all backgrounds feel confident, accepted and valued. Workplace demographics should be carefully considered. A lack of diversity in the senior leadership team, can negatively affect how employees view the work environment. Staff are more likely to feel empowered if their superiors are relatable, representative and inclusive of a range of backgrounds, gender and race.

This is why it is important to begin by employing strategies that help weed out unconscious bias by ensuring employees undergo relevant training courses and objectively evaluate important executive decisions. Recruitment processes must be regulated and carefully considered. For instance, recruitment processes could involve excluding personal information and headshots from job applications to promote fair decision making and draw focus to the candidate’s skills and experience.


Research has shown that 70 per cent to 80 per cent of disabilities are invisible to the naked eye, so ensuring everyone can easily enter, use, reach or obtain products, services, and infrastructure is essential for a work environment to be accessible.

A common misconception is that limitations to accessibility in the workplace are always related to physical barriers, however this extends beyond the provision of ramps and elevators. While 44 per cent of accessibility issues reference narrow stairs, doors or corridors, a staggering 90 per cent of websites have been reported as inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology. This is why both design of physical environments should be suitable for individuals with diverse abilities, and virtual environments must cater to everyone’s needs.

Because a failure to comply with the latest legislation and guidelines could pose legal risks as well as increasing the possibility of developing a negative reputation, organisations must aspire to creating an environment that is universally accessible and positive by regularly reviewing the physical infrastructure, technological integrations and awareness programs.

Appropriate education and training are also essential, not only for staff in direct contact with the general public, but also for those involved in designing, managing and maintaining facilities. Appropriate training will ensure team members are consistently empathetic and have a comprehensive understanding of the diverse needs of others, including personalised evacuation plans and safety protocols. Workshops, courses and diversity training are also effective in equipping leaders with the tools and skills needed to manage a team fairly. Managers should combine these taught skills with regular employee check-ins to ensure unique needs are being met to the best of their ability.


The good news is that the FM sector can now tap into a range of assistive technologies, digital communication tools and smart building systems to help improve accessibility and contribute to a more inclusive workplace. By leveraging the latest software, FMs can streamline operations to be more efficient, effective, profitable and compliant.

The pursuit of enhanced accessibility in facilities management goes beyond compliance and has become a moral imperative in curating an inclusive workplace. From the physical layout of the workspace to the training programmes provided to employees, every aspect contributes to the overall accessibility of an environment.

In addressing these challenges, by adhering to best practices and implementing technological solutions, the facilities management sector will succeed in delivering the highest standards for customers and employees alike.

About Sarah OBeirne

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