Since the 2010 Equality Act, workplaces across the UK are obliged to provide disability access. Yet despite driving up the use of mobility aid tools and facilities such as mobility ramps, new research reveals many workers believe using mobility aids, including a mobility scooter, in the workplace would undermine their professional image and credibility.
From a poll of 1,003 workers surveyed by RELYNC, the mobility scooter manufacturer, 47% admitted that the modern design of mobility aids would negatively impact their image. Shockingly, as many as one in six expressed concerns they would be perceived as lazy using the mobility aids and mobility scooters, with 23% saying it would affect their future employability prospects. Given this, it’s unsurprising to learn that one in three cited a social stigma attached to mobility scooters, with the research also showing the mobility scooter as more acceptable 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.”
She continued: “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, especially the mobility scooter, for whatever reason it might be.”
In light of unenlightened attitudes, RELYNC believes upgrading the design of mobility scooters would help change attitudes. However, given that immobility encompass a wide range of people and conditions, from sports and DIY injuries to arthritis, staff must move away from the stigma and show understanding to peers.
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