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3 things companies can do to build a more inclusive workplace for people living with disabilities

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Monika’s job is all about making companies more inclusive. Here are three things you can do to start changing your workplace.
Monika’s job is all about making companies more inclusive. Here are three things you can do to start changing your workplace.   -   Copyright  Euronews
By Natalia Oelsner  & Fanny Gauret

Diversity is an asset and more and more companies are starting to realise this. Building a team that includes people from different backgrounds has a positive impact on the workplace and can increase productivity, creativity and help with problem-solving and decision-making.

Building an inclusive environment is accepting people’s differences and seeing them as a strength. This approach is becoming increasingly popular in the business world and some companies are even setting up special units to promote diversity and consider people's needs.

Monika Jankowska-Rangelov’s job is all about that. When she was two years old, she was diagnosed with dermatomyositis, a rare disease that causes muscle inflammation and skin rash, that can limit mobility.

But this has not stopped her build a career – she is now the head of inclusion, diversity and equity at State Street in Poland, a global organisation that provides financial services to institutional investors.

Through her work, Monika hopes to help colleagues who, like her, are part of the 15 per cent of the population that has some form of disability in the European Union. Although this percentage may seem surprisingly high, very often we are not aware that there are people living with disabilities around us.

“Many people do not reveal that aspect and they think that it's a reason to be hidden,” Monika told Euronews. This is related to the discrimination that persons with disabilities still face. Only 50.8 per cent of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 75 per cent who do not have disabilities.

Disabilities are more common than one might think, and it is likely that we will all experience some form of disability in our lifetime, whether due to old age, illness or an accident.

“Disability is just a feature. It can happen to any of us,” Monika said.

If you want to make your workplace more inclusive for people living with disabilities, Monika has some recommendations for you:

Ask the right questions

What do you need? How can I help you? Do you need my help at all? These are the questions you should be asking when interviewing, inviting a candidate for work or having a colleague who suddenly acquires a disability.

Tackle the root of the problem

Systemic problems need systemic solutions. Make sure the people living with disabilities have access to training, positions involving decision-making, management, and also new technologies that will allow them to build a successful career.

Understand we all have the same ambitions

We are all humans with the same needs, desires, passions and ambitions”, said Monika.

“And we want to work effectively, to have colleagues, to have work that is appreciated and to satisfy ourselves and our employers.”

To find out more, watch the video above.