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Top tips for a more inclusive experience


These things are etiquette and protocol for everyone. And just happen to be important for accessibility.” Gerard Florian. 

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is a great reminder of the importance of accessibility in the workplace.

The sudden switch to an online, virtual workplace due to COVID-19 highlighted the importance of digital accessibility at work – whether you’re working in the office or remotely.

As people make their way back into the office, or are getting used to what we refer to at ANZ as a blended model – a mix between home and office, we need to ensure the lessons we learnt about accessibility and inclusion are adapted for this evolution of work.


Organisations such as ANZ have a great opportunity to even the playing field. We create opportunities to have the very best and brightest people doing wonderful things for our customers and accessibility shouldn’t be a blocker to this. Everybody deserves an opportunity.


We’ve been working in a very different way over the past 12 months, and in some ways it’s been quite good having everyone at home.


Virtual meetings are a great way to advance an inclusive culture by modelling some basic practices. We’ve adopted technologies such as Microsoft Teams, which allow people to do a range of things to make meetings more inclusive and we’re naturally building these into the way we work. For example, raising your hand in meetings when you have something to contribute or a question to ask, and enabling captions across the bottom of the screen.


Simple things like this can make a huge difference to people’s experience at work and can give way to new opportunities. And to ensure we continue to create these opportunities, we need to be mindful of how some things could become a barrier in a blended model.


We need to embed principles and practices in our daily work and remain both curious and conscious of people’s needs to avoid this happening.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2021

20 May 2021 marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and is a great reminder of the importance of accessibility in the workplace wherever that may be.


Fortunately, for many people there are barriers or impediments we can do something about. Global Accessibility Awareness Day helps drive the conversation around how we can take one or two extra steps to create opportunities and harness amazing talent within our teams at ANZ.



What you can do:

Be conscious

People working remotely have had accommodations set up at home, so we need to be conscious of thesethings coming back into the office. For example, when you're in a meeting room - someone who might have had access to captioning at home might no longer have captions. How do you ensure they can hear clearly and follow the meeting?


Be an advocate


This is where having open discussions becomes so important. Conversations ensure teams are sensitive to everyone’s needs, people feel comfortable asking questions and making sure there is someone in the room advocating for people who aren't in the room just to say, ‘hey, it looks like someone's put their hand up’ or ‘it looks like someone's not connected, what do we need to do to help them out?’


I've been in meetings which have been like the ‘old’ ones - everyone in the room has not been on a tablet or device and some people are joining virtually. You can't see the people on the screen as the images are small. People in the room are not raising their hand to ask questions and just asking questions among themselves, so others are getting left out of the discussion and opportunities to engage are being missed.


We need to learn from the past year and continue to apply the principles we worked by when we were all remote. Let's be aware of what worked well and continue to use them as we return to the office.


These things are etiquette and protocol for everyone. And just happen to also be important for accessibility.


Keep these things in mind…

Top tips from ANZ employees to ensure a more inclusive environment when returning to the office.


Verity Thornton – Journey Expert

Be mindful of how others work

While I have found working from home really productive, a lot of people say one of the things they enjoy about being back in the office is being able to walk up to others and ‘tap them on the shoulder’ to have a conversation. For me having side of the desk conversations is difficult. I find it hard to hear and focus in the office and so I often wear headphones. I’ve had a chat to my team and stakeholders, explained my situation and asked that they message me on Teams or Skype first as that’s my preference.


Cholena Orr, Product Owner, Group Functions

In meetings think of those who aren’t in the room

  • Keep the line muted until everyone has joined, so those on line don’t have to listen to background noise.
  • When opening the meeting, check in with everyone and agree to a protocol so you know how people will ask questions and share points in the meeting.
  • Have someone dedicated to watching for raised hands so no one misses out.
  • If possible, have everyone dial in from their desks for a more inclusive experience. 


Christopher Sims, Service Consultant

Be aware of where you sit

When working from the office, avoid sitting at desks marked as anchor desks. These have been set up for the unique needs of the person using the desk and have specific equipment required that person to be able to work productively.



Embrace digital


We want to ensure the little things that we've been doing for the last 12 months continue in a new way. For example, let's digitise everything so everybody, particularly people who have visual accessibility issues, are able to see information more clearly. Some teams are putting all of their work into software such as JIRA and not only relying on the sticky Post-it notes on the wall.


There are simple things we've done to accommodate working from home, and I'm hoping we can continue to do that and get even better at it.


View more on ANZ’s approach to accessibility and inclusion


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