Are you a small or medium-sized business? Let’s talk!

Small business

We have been considering what a package of support could look like for small and medium sized businesses with under 250 employees (SMEs). Before we go any further we would like to hear from SME businesses themselves about the type of information and support they would value the most from us.

Why is disability important for businesses?

There are over 26 million people in the UK with a disability or long-term condition. They already impact on your business: they are your customers, your employees, your suppliers and your stakeholders.

  • Your customers: The ‘Purple Pound’ is now often referred to as the potential spending power of disabled people. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reports that households with a disabled person have a combined income of £249 billion after housing costs. There is evidence to show people with disabilities are often ‘repeat’ customers when they get the service and products that meets their personalised needs.
  • Your employees: All businesses need to remove barriers to employment and career progression to ensure they are recruiting from the widest pool of talent available. They should also observe best practice in terms of support, retention and progression of all their staff, including those with disabilities and long term conditions.


What do we need from the research?

This is a piece of developmental research and not a sales call. This is an exciting project for Business Disability Forum and any help you can give us in terms of ideas for further development will be greatly appreciated.

Ideally we would like to speak to someone in a senior managerial position in your organisation with responsibility for your employees or general business development for 30 minutes over the phone. Karen Cutts, Research and Insights Manager at Business Disability Forum,  will be undertaking the interviews as tele-depths. We can schedule the interview at a time that suits you.

If you are happy to help us please contact Business Disability Forum directly on the email address below to say you have opted in to the research. We will then select a number of businesses to take part and be in touch to set up a time and give more details.

Telephone Karen Cutts on: 020 7089 2482

Email: policy@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk

All your comments will remain anonymous and you will not be identified in any way in the data or report. The report will be for internal use only at Business Disability Forum and their stakeholders who are helping fund and build this service.

We are hoping that interviews would be completed between now and mid-January.

If you have any immediate questions relating to the project please do not hesitate to contact us using the details above.

Stat of the month: unconscious bias in flexible working

By Angela Matthews

A recent Australian report by Symmetra called The Conundrum of Workplace Flexibility shows the unconscious bias that is sometimes present towards employees who take up flexible working patterns.

Unconscious bias against flexible workers can have an indirectly discriminatory impact on many aspects of equality in the workplace, but it should be noted how key flexible working has been shown to be to disabled workers as a common reasonable adjustment. In the Life Opportunities Survey 2009/11, we saw that 60 per cent of disabled people who were not employed because of their disability said that flexible working is one of the adjustments that would help them work, and almost 50 per cent of disabled people in work said that flexible working hours have helped them to stay in their jobs. We also saw in CBI’s 2013 Absence in the Workplace Health Survey that flexible working was the most common adjustment, used by 82 per cent of respondents.

This is another example of how negative presumptions can have a discriminatory impact – especially regarding such a common reasonable adjustment for an employee with a disability or long-term health condition.