There is a paradigm shift in business practices in the last few days, the shift has answered a fundamental question for many businesses: Can my business adapt, can my business thrive when most of my staff are working remotely? For most businesses, the answer is yes. The fact that this can work should mean that businesses will be more open to the inclusion of people with disabilities, it should mean a big improvement for disability employment. In fact, this paradigm shift will not only allow those with disabilities to participate but to thrive, in business.
After the global lockdown due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world is lifted, I believe businesses will apply the lessons learned during this lockdown to improve inclusion of people with disabilities across the world by using the same tools they are using now in bringing their workforce together, to work remotely. There’s no excuse not to – we are seeing how it is currently working for a large part of the 7.8bn global population.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the critical importance of digital communication for businesses, digital communication has helped businesses run smoothly during this period, and its importance in allowing those staying at home to remain connected with businesses, friends, and family. Digital communications is very important and the values must apply to people with disabilities, too. How I wish we can maintain the status quo and continue to ensure that websites and digital media (captioning and audio description devices too) are inclusive and fully accessible.
Businesses are missing out on huge opportunities to reach audiences, due to lack of accessibility but only a few of them know about that valid fact before Covid-19 began. In 2016, more than 4 million people abandoned a retail website because it wasn't accessible, taking with them an estimated spend of £11.75 billion, UK’s Click-Away Pound survey revealed. This meant that the retail store lost about £11.75 billion to inaccessibility.