Disability support organisation leads way in accessible and inclusive workplaces

Posted 5 years ago by Nicole Pope
Hireup’s office features accessible kitchens complete with accessible kettles and microwaves and height adjustable benches [Source: Hireup]
Hireup’s office features accessible kitchens complete with accessible kettles and microwaves and height adjustable benches [Source: Hireup]

With many buildings presenting accessibility barriers for people with disability, one company is prioritising inclusive and accessible workspaces by relocating to a new office.

Hireup, an online platform helping people with disability find, hire and manage their support workers has gone above and beyond the traditional standards of accessibility, enlisting the help of specialists to source the latest in assistive technology and design.

The three-level office, located in St Leonards, Sydney will support a range of disabilities including autism, vision and hearing impairments, physical disabilities and wheelchair users.

Inclusive features of the office include accessible kettle and microwaves on each level, braille signage, height adjustable kitchen bench and work tables, wheelchair accessible ramps to balconies, accessible reception check-in, keyless entry, automatic doors, screen readers, hearing loops, one-touch coffee machines and commissioned artworks by artists with disability.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Hireup, Jordan O’Reilly says education and awareness is the key to driving real change.

“We’re not seeing many organisations engaged in these conversations and it’s obvious what the benefits of inclusive design are.

“You get an amazingly diverse set of people working towards the same goal.

“Being an accessible organisation will allow us to attract the most interesting people and the most capable minds – many of whom might not have been given a real chance to contribute in the past,” he says.

The decision to move office was made about 12 months ago with the planning and coordination kicking off in October last year.  

User Experience (UX) Designer at Hireup Mel Tran says the best part of the company’s commitment to true accessibility is its culture.

“When we were moving into this office we were all committed to making it as accessible as possible.

“We’ve come a long way on this front, but we also recognise that we still have a long way to go.

“For us, it’s about having the flexibility to change and adapt to different needs.

“The environment is definitely much more accessible, but – in terms of culture – I’ve started to hear accessibility discussed and considered a lot more within each of the different teams around the office.

“That’s when you know it’s starting to sink into everyone’s work process and mentality. That’s what I love about it,” she says.

Mr O’Reilly is encouraging other workplaces to consider making changes to improving workplace accessibility and says a strong vision and commitment from the leadership team is essential.

“This means people in leadership roles who agree and believe that accessibility will drive opportunities for everyone.

“It’s an important thing which everyone needs to pay attention to and setting an example for others to follow becomes a really important part of the process.”

He says the next step is resourcing.

“Investing in accessibility takes time and money and no real change will be achieved unless you have a team working on it.

“It’s actually a trade-off for a business to say, “We care about this and we’re going to spend time working it out and doing it.”.

For more information on Hireup, head to hireup.com.au