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4. Understand the work barriers that impact on workers

As an employer, it is important to understand the work barriers that can impact on disabled workers and those with long-term health conditions. We will refer to both as 'workers' in this guidance.

Talking to your workers about barriers and obstacles can give you a shared understanding of how these affect all aspects of work. This impact can be on recruitment, onboarding, starting work and throughout someone’s work life.

Understanding what could prevent workers fulfilling their role, or removing obstacles, can:

  • help you recruit and retain people
  • enable workers to thrive in work
  • increase existing workers’ trust in your organisation
  • make workers feel supported to do more, rather than highlighting what they can’t do
  • improve your knowledge and understanding of how you could run your business and give you different perspectives

Identify barriers to work

Make sure workers and managers have conversations about barriers, so they are understood. These can be:

  • physical, like access into and around a building, videoconferencing without subtitles, IT that doesn’t support text reading
  • organisational, like having rigid sickness absence policies or performance targets
  • attitudinal, such as assumptions and bias-based exclusion from activity
  • social, where workers are excluded from an activity because of other people's pre-conceptions

Find solutions to remove barriers to work

Empower workers to suggest and define solutions which:

  • suit their situation
  • are tailored to their specific working circumstances, rather than having to accept generic resolutions

Make sure you provide access to suitable advice for workers whose individual situations may be more complex. For example, you could use the Access to Work scheme or occupational health services.

Updated: 2023-01-16