Using mobility aids at the workplace undermines employees’ professional image and can impact on their future employability prospects.
That’s according to a new survey which found nearly 50% of respondents still feel there is a lot of stigma attached to using mobility equipment at work.
Workplaces in Britain have been pushed since the 2010 Equality Act to improve access for disabled employees but the new research shows that in spite of newly-installed apparatus, lots of people feel mobility aids have a have a steep decline on their professional image.
Out of more than 1,000 workers surveyed by mobility manufacturer Relync, 47% admitted that the modern design of mobility aids would negatively impact their image.
As many as one in six expressed concerns they would be perceived as lazy using the apparatus, with 23% saying it would affect their future employability prospects.
One in three cited a social stigma attached to mobility scooters, with the research also showing the devices as more accepted in practical situations such as shopping instead of professional ones.
Commenting on the findings, Ellen Zha, global sales director as Relync, said: “For the most part, unless you are working in a manual position, they won’t affect the mind or our abilities to do our jobs, and so this shouldn’t be something that workers are ashamed of.
“Clearly there are some negative – and actually unfounded – connotations to using these devices. But this needn’t be the case. Firstly, companies need to be clear about their inclusion policies and management need to set an example by demonstrating a welcoming and positive attitude towards those who do use mobility devices, for whatever reason it might be.”
Relync believes that upgrading the design of mobility devices would improve the perceptions of workers.
Relync launched its eponymous scooter at a Las Vegas tech show earlier this year. The ‘smart folding mobility scooter’, which claims to be a world first, is designed for people with limited mobility.
It was showcased at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January where its features were demonstrated to both consumers and potential dealers.
Relync’s scooter is compatible with users’ smartphones and claims it can fold away into a self-contained suitcase in just three seconds, which if true, is faster than any other folding scooter on the market.