Universal Design Frameworks for Policies in the Workplace: Case Studies and Best Practices
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Universal design has been used to establish spatial requirements and physical guidelines to benefit all users to the extent possible. Universal design is a field with similar goals as the industrial/human factors engineering and safety profession. The purpose of the study is to explore and document factors that were hypothesized to lead to successful implement of workplace policies that benefit workers. This information will lead to identifying best practices for addressing the physical, psychological, and social needs of a workforce with diverse abilities.The researcher collected and analyzed information on how a policy was instituted in the workplace. Three companies that had a policy intended to improve the lives of their workers were chosen. Three people at each company were interviewed for 30-60 minutes and were asked about their knowledge of the pre-chosen policy. The interviews were recorded and transcribed for data analysis purposes.After interviewing the 9 participants, their responses were sorted and evaluated against the hypothesized factors. It was found that majority of the hypothesized success factors existed in all three cases. Additionally, there were common themes identified across organizations such as perceiving that their organization “cared about [them].” A sustained commitment to knowledge was apparent in all of the innovators. Each of them was interested in learning current industry practices and how to make their policy better.None of the policies researched in this study were created with universal design in mind. In the future, it may be easier to access companies with universal design knowledge creating polices. This would be an opportunity to list new or updated best practices.