IDEA, DEI or JEDI – but don’t forget your building accessibility

Greg Davies 2022

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
31st May 2023

DEI covers diversity, equality/equity, and inclusion – known as EDI in the UK – and sees a linking together of allied values, where:

  • Diversity considers the blend of characteristics such as gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion, in the workforce;
  • Equality/equity promotes fairness in terms of treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all; and
  • Inclusion reflects an environment that enables every employee the ability to participate and contribute.

As with DEI/EDI (and indeed as seen in the title for this piece), the acronyms are still developing, and with the additions of topics such as access, justice, and belonging, have created frameworks as varied as:

  • DEIB - diversity, equity/equality, inclusion, and belonging; 
  • EDIJ – equity/equality, diversity, inclusion, and justice; 
  • DEAI - diversity, equity/equality, access, and inclusion;
  • IDEA - inclusion diversity, equity/equality, and access;
  • JEDI - justice, equity/equality, diversity, and inclusion; 

As organisations develop and refine their strategies, whether you have an IDEA or become a JEDI will no doubt become clearer. One thing you cannot do however is forget the role your building plays in facilitating your initiatives.

While firmly based around disability initially, available, accessible, and inclusive are not, of course, the same, for example:

  • Having a wheelchair-accessible washroom with a transition space filled with cleaning equipment;
  • An induction loop system that nobody knows how to use; or
  • Where building staff don’t know if they can hear the emergency refuge telephone over the sound of the fire alarm, or what to do if they can.

Whether it’s your washrooms, car parking spaces, horizontal/vertical transitions, or emergency procedures, they all need consideration. Equally, good signage benefits everybody and employees equipped with the skills to identify needs and offer positive assistance, are always a good advertisement for your brand as well as your values.

With many workplaces having changed over the last few years not just in occupancy, but in configuration, have you reviewed or considered if the environment is still inclusive or if unintentionally new barriers have been created or re-introduced? We have a team of NRAC-qualified access auditors who’d be delighted to help you.