Posts tagged with ‘work’

15 apr

Mobility in the Workplace

RobertCordrayMobility in the workplace is imperative. Companies need to have physicality and technologically that makes the office fully accessible to as many individuals as possible. The culture needs to be attitudinally accessible as well. More and more companies are seeing that with planning for improved mobility, they get the best talent. Employees with disabilities have abilities, skills, and experiences that add great value to the workplace. Creating mobility in the workplace greatly enhances productivity and eliminates the barriers that can make employees feel under-appreciated.

Benefits of Workplace Mobility

  • Unified productivity between all workers.
  • Broadening the talent pool by creating environment for exceptional candidates that happen to have a disability.
  • Promoting an all-inclusive workplace culture.
  • By removing obstacles to the disabled, expand customer base to include individuals that might not have been able to access products and services.

It can also be beneficial to the brand to demonstrate an effort to include everyone in your workplace culture.

Physical Accessibility

Employers are legally bound “to provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees.” 

This accessibility refers to common areas, work spaces that are generally used by all employees. These areas include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Handicapped spaces in parking lots
  • Entrances and exits
  • Emergency exits and fire alarms
  • Conference rooms, break rooms, kitchens and other shared spaces
  • Desks and personal work spaces
  • Hallways, stairwells, and elevators
  • Restrooms
  • Cafeterias

Technological and Electronic Accessibility

This is actually a significant aspect of mobility in the workplace that many don’t consider. Adjusting one’s information and electronic technology to accommodate the disabled is not really expensive or difficult if approached carefully with affordable solutions.

Here are areas where companies are creating accessibility for all employees:

  • Intranet and Internet information and applications
  • Electronic correspondence such as email
  • Software applications and operating systems
  • Telecommunications solutions
  • All multimedia applications
  • Desktop and portable computers
  • Any self-contained, closed products like copy machines, calculators and printers
  • Online job applications

When looking at physical, technological, and electronic mobility in the workplace, it would be a good idea to partner with consultants in accessibility. There are also resources that work with IT accessibility that will focus on technological modifications.

Consultants can help assemble a long term plan for assessing, planning and implementing accessibility solutions for persons with disabilities. This will require determining the company’s immediate and forecasted needs for current and prospective employees.

Attitudinal Accessibility

The greatest detriment to mobility in the workplace is always going to be attitudes and misconceptions. Whether intentional or not, we are all capable of creating the type of barriers that leave the disabled on the outskirts. Everything from seeing these individuals as inferior to treating them too special because of their disabilities are hindrances in many workplaces.

Employers need to engage employees. There should be forums and honest discussion about disability issues. There can also be training that maximizes understanding of disabilities. These solutions help break down misconceptions and dispel harmful stereotypes. Overall, this is going to require adept leadership skills. Supervisors and managers will be instrumental in creating the culture that supports the company goal of mobility. You can again refer to specialists in the field that know how to create environments that deal with these types of workplace barriers.

Conclusion

The disabled have plenty to offer, but only if their potential is maximized in an environment with accessibility. With workplace accommodations modified for all employees, you are guaranteed to always have the right person in the right job. Whether it’s putting in a wheelchair lift or making adjustments to workstations, creating mobility in the workplace adds value to the entire company. The Mobility Resource highlighted some of the best mobility companies to work for some include, Bank of America, Walgreens and Comcast to name a few.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on April 15th, 2014 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

08 apr

Machines Replacing Humans

RobertCordrayStarting in 1962 in the automotive industry and every decade since, machines have taken over the jobs of humans. The manufacturing process has been computerized with robotic machines that can handle repetitive tasks much quicker and more efficiently than humans. Some of the jobs that have been taken over by machinery are:

Factory Jobs

Factory jobs employed about one-third of the workforce in the United States in the 1950s. The factories produced packaged foods, refrigerators, light bulbs and hundreds of other items that were used every day. Computerized machines have boosted production allowing the factories to function around the clock while still reducing production costs. The people who were the most affected were the workers at the end of the line and the sorters. These people worked along the conveyor system and packaged the finished product.

Auto Plant Workers

The jobs men and woman did along the assembly line in an auto plant have been taken on by robots. The robots can work around the clock and not bet bored or tired. They do the work of four humans, which increases productivity and reduces costs. In Japan, and later in Detroit, 600,000 workers do the job of 2.5 million workers producing 12 million cars per year.

Farms

Technology has replaced millions of farmworkers with machines that can sense where the seeds should be planted and when the crops are ready to be harvested. Technology has also affected the food that is grown with genetically engineered plants to make it possible to get larger and larger yields.

Dairy farms also require fewer laborers because of automated milking and cleaning machines. The robots milk the cows, push feed into their pens and clean the barns. The cows are brushed and make comfortable with special lighting. These machines work every day all day and night. One person can oversee the whole operation. This type of automation is not common, but it is available and working in dairies in Holland, Denmark and France. It will eventually put hundreds of dairy workers out of a job.

Telephone Operators

Automated communication systems have replaced humans in many areas including reception, customer service and help desks. It is becoming less and less likely that consumers need to speak to a human to get the service they need, and these jobs are becoming scarce. Cell phones also do the job of taking messages, transferring calls and maintaining databases. Operators and other administrative help is no longer required. Clerical workers who wrote up and typed bills became redundant while data entry operators were employed. When a system upgrades to a digital system, the data entry employees also become redundant.

Tollbooth Collectors

Automated tollbooth collection is much more convenient and better for traffic jams during peak times. No longer do people need to sit in a booth while each car stops to pay their toll. There are now stickers that are put on windshields that are read by an overhead monitor, and the toll is taken from the car owner’s credit card. When the last tool booth collector left the job on the San Francisco, California, Golden Gate Bridge, it made national news. About 30 jobs were terminated on this bridge alone when the city made the switch to all-electronic toll collection. The systems not only collect tolls, they also alert enforcers of cars that are not enrolled or try to avoid the toll.

Cashiers

Computerized, self-checkout cashiers have not yet taken over all retail stores, but in some of the large department stores, about half of the checkout stands are automated. This trend is expected to continue, reducing the number of human cashiers. Computerized checkout not only expedites check stand operations, it also encompasses inventory control, sales analysis, pricing, labor scheduling, promotions, advertising and customer relations. The system is able to do all these things because it scans and stores information that is code marked or tagged on the merchandise.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on April 8th, 2014 in Career, Global/Social Change, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

02 apr

The Rights of the Physically Disabled in America: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

RobertCordrayNot all that long ago in America, people with physical disabilities were seen as second-class citizens. While the non-disabled sympathized with their plight, the main consensus was that if physically “handicapped” people wanted to function in the real world, it was they who would need to adjust. Society was not going to go out of its way to accommodate their special needs.

Fortunately, circumstances for those with physically disabilities have improved dramatically over the past several decades. Societal adaptation and technological advancements have empowered the physically challenged to live more normal and fulfilling lives through greater mobility and access. But that change didn’t happen overnight. Here’s a brief look at where we’ve been and hopefully where we’re headed in terms of the rights of disabled people in America.

Smith-Fess Vocational Rehabilitation Act

In the early part of the 20th century, people with physical disabilities lived lives of social and physical isolation, not only due to their inability to get around on their own but also out of fear of public ridicule. Then came the end of World War I, and the return of soldiers who faced dire futures due to physically incapacitating war injuries. Congress came to the aid of disabled soldiers by enacting the Smith-Fess Vocational Rehabilitation Act, an act that was amended after each successive war to better reflect changes in public perceptions of people with disabilities and to encompass new treatments and rehabilitation protocols. Although initially designed to come to the aid of veterans, civilians also came to benefit from the act as well.

The FDR administration

With Franklin Roosevelt’s election to the presidency in 1932, physical disability gained a prominent new address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At a time when most Americans looked down on the disabled, Roosevelt, who despite being crippled by polio, helped to change public perceptions by showing that those with disabilities can lead full and productive lives despite their limitations.

Polio and the D.H.E.W.

Through Roosevelt, Americans came face-to-face with polio. And the great polio epidemics of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s also made physical disability of civilians more visible to the public as people from all walks of life fell victim to the crippling disease. In 1954, the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was created to better address and meet the rehabilitative needs of all Americans. Although no legislation had yet been enacted to make buildings more accessible to the disabled, clearly the public’s attitudes and perceptions towards those with disabilities were changing for the better .

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

In 1961, the American National Standards Institute published and distributed a new standard for “Making Building Accessible to and Useable by the Physically Handicapped.” Hailed for setting standards that builders could look to for making buildings friendlier to disabled people, the ANSI standard failed to be adopted, as doing so by builders was strictly voluntary. Four years later, the government got serious by establishing the National Commission on Architectural Barriers, an organization that after three years of study issued a report directing attention to the prevalence of physical barriers and called for their removal. It was the commission’s conclusion that, “the greatest single obstacle to employment for the handicapped is the physical design of buildings and facilities they must use.”

1960’s Civil Rights Movement

During the period of racial unrest that gave rise to the civil rights movement, the movement to recognize the rights of other minorities, such as those with physical disabilities, was also born. Gaining momentum over the years, the movement gave rise to other legislation, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—which finally gained teeth in terms of government enforcement through a 1978 amendment—and has helped steer America towards present-day practices and policies, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act. That landmark legislation has at last given those with physical disabilities the hope of leading full and productive lives.

With advances in technology, the future is looking even brighter for the physically challenged. New discoveries in prosthetics, robotics and other related fields are allowing people with disabilities to walk, run, drive automobiles, join the workforce, and participate in other normal tasks that were once considered impossible. Perhaps someday in the not too distant future, words like “disabled” and “physically-disadvantaged” will fall out of favor, as the subset of people they once described will no longer exist in the real world.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on April 2nd, 2014 in Career, Health, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

01 jan

Empty the Cup

RickHansonAre you full to the brim?
The Practice:
Empty the cup.
Why?

Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar’s cup: gradually the tea rose to the very brim and began spilling over onto the table, yet she kept pouring and pouring. The scholar burst out: “Stop! You can’t add anything to something that’s already full!” The saint set down the teapot and replied, “Exactly.”

Whether it’s the blankness of a canvas to an artist, the silence between the notes in music, bare dirt for a new garden, the not-knowing openness of a scientist exploring new hypotheses, an unused shelf in a closet or cupboard, or some open time in your schedule, you need space to act effectively, dance with your partners, and have room around your emotional reactions.

Yet most of us, me included, tend to stuff as much as possible into whatever room is available – room in closets, schedules, budgets, relationships, and even the mind itself. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on January 1st, 2012 in General, Health, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , ,