Overcoming Hurdles to Accessibility

Below are some typical hurdles to accessibility and suggestions for improving them in your organization and industry.

I am generally at my desk more than I am away from my desk.

  • Find colleagues who seem to have figured it out. Talk with them about how they spend their time and brainstorm on ways that you can get out of your office or workstation more.
  • Schedule time each workday or on a frequently recurring basis to get out of your office or workstation.
  • Look for opportunities to do certain work elsewhere in your office area or building. All of your work does not have to be done in your office or workstation.
  • Meet a colleague in her office or a common area (i.e., employee cafeteria) when she asks to meet with you.

If I have an office, my door is likely closed.

  • Leave your office door open all the time and assess the impact. Start small – do this for a day, and then two days, and then a week.
  • Consider doing some of your work away from your office so that the door is open more. Schedule time to use a conference room to get some of your work done. This way, at least your door is not closed.
  • Schedule times when you need to close your door so that your colleague knows when they can see you. For example, conduct your “closed door” work between 10:00 am and noon or 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

I don’t feel I help my colleagues as much as I would like when I meet with them.

  • Confirm the goals of an upcoming meeting with a colleague and the outcomes your colleague needs in order to make progress.
  • Ask your colleague, at the start of the conversation, to confirm the outcomes he needs in order to make progress.
  • Pause and confirm with your colleague that the conversation is helping her make progress. If the conversation is not helping her make progress, ask her to restate her goals and outcomes so you can get the conversation back on track.
  • Ask your colleague if the conversation was helpful as the conversation comes to a close. If your colleague does not respond in a positive way, ask how else you can help him make progress.

I have my back to colleagues when they enter my office/ workstation.

  • Ask your office services team to reconfigure your workspace to improve accessibility.
  • Put a sign at the opening of your workstation inviting visitors to knock so that you are aware of their presence.


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Ed Evarts is the founder and president of Excellius Leadership Development, an organization focused on coaching mid- to senior- level leaders and their teams in business environments. With over twenty-five years of innovative leadership and management experience, Ed possesses the ability to build awareness, create action, and deliver results. Known for his business acumen, his ability to resolve complex human relations issues, and his enthusiastic, accessible and responsive style, Ed partners with managers, leaders and business teams to explore clarity and communication, and traverse conflict and change.