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Tips On How You Can Support People with Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace

Young man with a disability receiving support during his employment

Hidden disabilities within the workplace are a lot more common than you think. Research shows that there is currently more than 4.7 million disabled people who are employed to work. This includes your customers and service users, employees, and interns. As this statistic is quite high, it is likely that you employ someone who is living with a disability. Often these people will not approach their employers or colleagues to discuss their hidden disability, as they may feel that there is a lack of understanding within the workplace. It is essential that businesses owners encourage employees with hidden disabilities to ask for assistance when needed, so the correct support can be provided. We have created a list of tips on how you can support people with hidden disabilities in the workplace and create a welcoming environment for all employees.

What Are Hidden Disabilities?

Hidden disabilities are physical, mental, or neurological conditions that can’t be seen from the outside, however they can affect a person’s movement or their senses. Examples of hidden disabilities include Autism, ADHD, Dementia, and Dyslexia.

Through JAM Card, people living with a hidden disability or communication barrier can tell others they need an extra bit of time and patience in a discreet and simple way. This can be used within the workplace, when out shopping, using public transport, and much more! If the business you are purchasing from is JAM Card Friendly, their employees will know what the card means.

How To Support People with Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace

Educate All Employees on Hidden Disabilities

Educating all the employees within your business about hidden disabilities can help to create a more open and supportive environment for your workforce. Without this knowledge some employees may form unfair judgments or perceptions about those living with hidden disabilities.

When your business signs up as a JAM Card Partner, your members of staff will be given an E-Learning course to complete. Through this training, your team will become educated on what the JAM Card is and how they should interact with employees who have hidden disabilities or communication barriers. By ensuring all members of your staff complete this course, you are taking the appropriate steps to becoming a disability friendly business in Belfast.

Offer Flexible Working Arrangements

It is compulsory for business owners to offer all employees reasonable adjustments to ensure they can complete a day’s work while also maintaining their wellbeing. If the correct adjustments are not put in place, employees with hidden disabilities will be faced with barriers and feel forced to leave their current position for another job.

One way you can provide employees flexible working arrangements is by offering them a hybrid working scheme. This will allow employees to work from home when necessary and eliminate the daily commute which may be a stressful experience for those with hidden disabilities. These changes can have a positive impact on your employee’s quality of life and will help them to enjoy their working days a lot more.

Ask For Feedback

Unless you ask, you won’t know if the changes you have put in place are making a positive impact. Therefore, it is important that you ask your employees with hidden disabilities for feedback. Working towards improving inclusion in the workplace will have many benefits for your business, including increasing company productivity and boosting employee morale. As people become more comfortable overtime and trust that as a business you genuinely care about their well-being, they will feel that that can approach you and provide honest feedback and any further changed that they would like to be introduced.

When you sign up as a JAM Card Partner you will receive expert guidance and advice that will to support you throughout your inclusion strategy. Each quarter you will be given a data report on JAM Card App reviews for your business that will help you to make improvements towards becoming a disability friendly employer in Northern Ireland.

Have Open and Honest Conversations with Employees

Stigmas and judgements of hidden disabilities in the workplace can prevent employees from being open and honest about their situation. By introducing regular one-to-one meetings with employees, everyone will feel that they are being treated the same or feel singled out when asking for extra support. These open and honest conversations will give employees with disabilities a confidential way of discussing their workplace needs and the challenges they may be facing.

Becoming a JAM Card Partner is taking the first steps towards becoming a disability friendly business. This will create a positive and welcoming environment for both employees and your customers. For more information on how JAM Card can support your inclusion and diversity strategy, get in touch with Nicola Tipping via email at or alternatively you can call 028 9043 6400.

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