In my last job, I was lucky enough to experience a dyslexic friendly workplace. It allowed me to see first-hand that an inclusive workplace is real possibility in 2022, especially as hybrid working becomes the new normal and digital assistance is now a realistic addition to our everyday work environments.
It’s the small changes that make a big difference to us, allowing for dyslexics to reach our full potential and focus on work. With this in mind, let’s take a look at our top 10 tips for an inclusive workplace in 2022.
- Awareness of dyslexia amongst colleagues
This tip is probably the most important. If colleagues are aware of the challenges faced by dyslexics, then staff are more likely to get on board with the steps listed below. Information forums to spread awareness on dyslexia could help with this. This would also work for any other learning difference, and could definitely help create an inclusive workplace.
- Assistive technology
There are all sorts of assistive technologies that can make a massive difference to a dyslexic’s work environment. Just some examples include smart pens, speech recognition software, text-to-speech software or even on a more basic level spell checkers. Especially with online working much more established since the pandemic, assistive technology is a small addition to our desktops that can make a positive difference.
- Practical training
Receiving practical training as opposed to written instructions can be hugely beneficial. Having a tutorial where a colleague shares their screen and walks you through something new, or even having a video recording teaching you the steps, is often the preferable way to learn.
- Dyslexic Fonts
Specially designed dyslexic fonts have become more widely available in recent years. They are often free to download or purchased for a small fee and can make a huge difference to dyslexics.
- One-on-one time with manager
For dyslexics, having a short one-on-one meeting from time to time with our managers allows us to ask any questions, clarify information and in general have a space to discuss any dyslexia-based challenges. It also creates an open dialogue about dyslexia, contributing to a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
- Visual Aids
As dyslexics are often visual learners, creating visual aids for presentations or communicative means can be a simple and straightforward way of creating an inclusive workplace. This could include flowcharts, diagrams or even simple, sketched out drawings.
- Communication format
Simple changes to communication format can create a more inclusive workplace. For example, printing information on coloured paper, writing in a larger, clear font or making information available on an audio file can be incredibly beneficial to dyslexics.
- Concise meetings (where possible!)
I know, this tip is probably unrealistic (and something non-dyslexics could also benefit from!). But it can’t be denied that keeping meetings concise would help create an inclusive workplace. Dyslexics struggle when there is an overload of information, and it already takes us extra time to read through notes and sift through information.
- Quiet working environment/work from home
Providing a quiet or private working environment can help us when we are trying to read through lots of information. Working from home often works for dyslexics, but having a quiet place at the office as an option is important when creating an inclusive workplace.
- Clear calendar system
Last but not least, having a clear and effective calendar system will really help to build an inclusive workplace. As dyslexics sometimes struggle to keep on top of deadlines, having a visual and collaborative calendar system could be very beneficial. This could also include personalised alarms and reminders. Like with the assistive technology, there are so many free/low-cost collaborative calendar apps that could really help with productivity and create an inclusive workplace.
Maddy Shepherd is a volunteer blogger for Dyslexia Scotland
For more information about workplace reasonable adjustments, please have a look at our Dyslexia and Work page