Consider the following cultural perspectives:
A person with a disability shows up for her first day of work with her service dog. Other employees feel a sense of awkwardness that they might say or do something incorrect.
A young, vibrant high-technology start-up creates “bring your dog to work day.” Employees laugh and relax, swapping stories about their pets, posting to social media about how cool their workplace is, and bonding as a team.
A new employee receives an adaptive desk to accommodate his wheelchair. Co-workers observe its functions from a distance and try not to stare.
A new vice-president who is a fitness fanatic orders a stand-up desk that can adjust to multiple levels so she’s not sitting all day. Co-workers approach and ask her questions, joking and trying out the remote control mechanism.
A quadriplegic accountant uses assistive voice-to-text software to create his quarterly reports. Colleagues nod in sympathy at how lucky he is to have a tool to help him work around his disability.
An intern shows off his new smartphone with its voice-activated virtual assistant and voice-to-text software. Co-workers gather around, asking the software trivia questions and laughing at the answers.
How does your workplace respond to new and different things? If it takes them in stride, you likely have an innovative, adaptable environment that is resourceful and adept at problem-solving. If your workplace resists change and new ways of doing business, you might be in a rut and less able to adapt to curveballs the marketplace throws.
We all see the world through filters layered on through our personal experiences. Your organizational culture is the sum of employee perspectives.
When people without disabilities want some type of accommodation to do their job, smart companies do what it takes to keep them happy. (Remember fitness balls instead of chairs?)
The more open and accepting of new ideas and practices your workplace is, the more Viable it will be.