Socializing in the Workplace

by Donna J. Jodhan

For a disabled employee, socializing in the workplace can often be very challenging; but at the same time, it can also be a challenge for the mainstream employee. For the disabled employee, the question in one's mind is how much assistance could they ask for before it becomes either a nuisance or an annoyance and for the mainstream employee the question would be how much assistance should they be offering before it too becomes either an annoyance or a nuisance.

Socializing in the workplace should not be limited to just thinking of it as hanging out at someone else’s office or cubicle. No, it should be expanded to think of it in other ways. These would include:

  • Having lunch together at the company's cafeteria or out at a restaurant.
  • Attending a company function
  • Taking part in outdoor events

One of the things that I found most interesting when I worked for a company was having to find ways to negotiate a buffet table. Some coworkers were very conscious of my challenges and did their best to help me out while others seemed oblivious of the fact that I was unable to negotiate a buffet table independently.

I'd like to close by highlighting some of the more typical problems that most disabled employees would or could face when socializing in the workplace.

  • Most disabled persons often need help to negotiate a buffet table.
  • Disabled persons who are unable to drive almost always find themselves having to depend on others for transportation.
  • Blind and visually impaired persons often need assistance with the reading of menus.
  • Most disabled persons often need assistance to find seating.
  • Blind and visually impaired persons might need sighted assistance to help them negotiate their way around unfamiliar territory.
  • Most disabled persons often need help finding their way to washrooms.

Of course, this list can be expanded but I think that by now, you are getting the picture.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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