As workplaces become more inclusive, disabled employees are now recognisably being put at the forefront of this change. And for most workplaces, this could mean reasonable adjustments being made by allowing a disabled person to have a support worker (otherwise known as a Personal Assistant) at work.
The Purpose of a Workplace Personal Assistant Support Worker.
The actual purpose of a Personal Assistant support worker is to help disabled professionals with tasks that aren’t as accessible to them as it would be to their workplace counterparts.
Though this article’s brief explanation doesn’t present the intricate role of a support worker for a disabled person at work. It will be a place to start to understand why hiring an auxiliary worker is essential and can have a massive advantage within a company – helping to grasp the long-term benefits for all.
Why Are Personal Assistant Support Workers Assets for Workplaces with Disabled Professionals?
Employers who agree to have Personal Assistant support workers in their workplace, ensure open equality for disabled people. In turn this adjustment accommodates the more nuance needs of those employees and enables them to be as productive as they can be in their role.
Accessibility isn’t only limited to altering the premises to make the office accessible for disabled professionals. In reality, it also includes making small changes to the role, along with some slight adjustments to resources designated for successful achievements within a role. Further support can also be found at Access to Work.
Many employers have taken the steps necessary and have made provisions for their disabled employees to have their very own Personal Assistant support worker at work, which is also a remarkable noteworthy key for a business to be well-rounded in its inclusivity strategy.
Reducing Any Obstacles Disabled Professionals May Have
It’s important to know that disabled professionals are just as capable of doing the core aspects of their job as their non-disabled counterparts. Still, they can also be overlooked as they may sometimes struggle to manage peripheral tasks. Here’s where the position of the Personal Assistant support worker will bridge the gap, the assistant will always work alongside the disabled employee, meet their needs and will only support them by supplementing the essential tasks.
Creating an Inclusive Environment
Moreover, those employers striving to create a more equal and inclusive workplace, will consider these adjustments in the context of granting distinct access for a support worker in their workplace. Without a Personal Assistant support worker, highly-skilled disabled professionals may not receive adequate employment opportunities, and those who do not receive these opportunities are less likely to thrive.
Hence, assistance in the workplace is rudimentary to ensuring disabled employees are treated as equals and have access to the appropriate resources to help them function like their colleagues.
Can You Have a Personal Assistant Support Worker if You’re a Self-Employed Disabled Person?
It’s not only as a company employee that a Personal Assistant support worker is essential, but disabled entrepreneurs can also benefit from having an auxiliary assistant too. The purpose of this type of Personal Assistant is to take on basic, but not critical duties in the job the disabled person must complete. Further information can be found at Access to Work.
So, as a disabled individual, you can now focus on the fundamental duties you’ve been tasked with, while your assistant completes supportive assignments.
What Kind of Duties Does a Workplace Support Worker Position Entail?
Workplace support workers for disabled people have many duties, which include;
Some everyday activities most workplaces take for granted can be obstacles for a disabled employee, which may distract or hinder them from completing their main duties. Therefore, a solution may mean getting assistance with:
- Note Taking: To ensure a disabled employee isn’t exerted beyond their capabilities, the workplace support worker will take notes in meetings or other instances where notes are deemed necessary for the work of the disabled professional.
- Typing: Similar to note-taking, general typing can be challenging for a disabled employee. A workplace support worker will type emails, draft reports and any other documents – typically whilst the disabled individual dictates.
- Reading: For some employees with Dyslexia, Autism or similar impairments – reading can be difficult; therefore, the role of a support worker for reading is to read essential material, including correspondences, guides and presentations slides.
General Administrative Support
Even if the employer has made the necessary alterations to the premises, an employee with limited mobility may not be able to carry physical documents to and from a meeting room or have the strength to scan several pages into a copier machine.
Without the support of a workplace support worker, disabled employees might struggle and be forced to turn to their colleagues for help, something that reduces their agency and isn’t always feasible.
The workplace support worker can also assist with the following:
- Administrative Duties: perform the mundane tasks that require physical capacity to complete including; accessing a database, updating spreadsheets, photocopying, scanning and filing.
- Communication: For disabled employees with a considerable impairment, they may need support with communication as required where in some cases the employee is blind or deaf and will need assistant to either write or speak on their behalf.
- Carrying Equipment: To guarantee the workplace is safer and more inclusive for disabled employees, the support worker can help move equipment and carry items that wouldn’t be possible for someone with a physical impairment to do. Other examples are instances where a disabled employee is unable to navigate the kitchen to make a cup of tea or food preparation for lunch and so on.
Something to Ponder Over.
We hope this article has highlighted the practicality of allowing employees with disabilities to have a Personal Assistant support worker for work. Many businesses have inadvertently developed unsuccessful inclusion strategies because of a lack of knowledge surrounding the intricacies of what having a disability means for an employee.
By justifiably underpinning the role of a disabled employee Personal Assistant support worker in the workplace, employers can ensure they aren’t unknowingly contravening disability discrimination laws, while aiming to ensure the workplace experience a pleasant one for all employees.
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