As much as 26 percent of US adults live with a disability of some kind. This large population means that a fair number of clients, customers, and employees who interact with your business will be disabled.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to provide an accommodating work environment for your employees and an accessible shopping experience for your guests. Here are a few ways to make sure that your business is ADA-accessible.

Make Sure You’re Meeting the Minimum Requirements

Before you can go above and beyond to create an accessible business, you need to make sure you’re meeting the minimum requirements. The ADA has created regulations to ensure businesses make their physical locations accessible to visitors with disabilities. These regulations include accessible entryways, aisles, and restrooms.

It’s important to also keep your parking lot ADA-compliant. This ensures disabled customers will be able to park and enter the building without difficulty or risk.

Elevate the Employee Experience

How can you better accommodate your employees beyond meeting any ADA accommodations they might have? The best place is to start by asking them.

While some individuals prefer not to disclose their disability, others don’t mind. Some people feel that letting their employer know about their diagnosis makes work life easier. Regardless, simply ask how you can better accommodate them and allow them to optionally disclose if they’d prefer to discuss various accommodations.

Disabilities are as multifaceted and diverse as the human experience. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all way to provide accommodations. Each employee will need an accommodations plan tailored to their needs.

Set Up a Soothing Sensory Space

While this option may not be possible for every business model, many businesses can make their storefronts more sensory-friendly. Businesses such as coffee shops, bookstores, and specialty shops may even see an uptick in business when altering their storefronts in this way, and not just from neurodivergent customers.

This is because many of the methods used to make a storefront more sensory-friendly are also commonly used to create the kind of unique vibe that keeps customers coming back for more. For example, you can swap out harsh white lights with soft gold café style lights to make your store more accessible and more aesthetic at the same time.

Other examples include using wall tapestries or other furniture to deafen excess noise, using incense or candles to add a nice scent to the space, and creating smaller seating nooks rather than open-floor-plan seating.

Making sure your business is ADA-accessible goes beyond adhering to the legal requirements. With a bit of care and empathy, your business can be a great place for employees to work and customers to visit.