Physical impairments and mobility difficulties

Staff with physical impairments may have difficulties with mobility, manual dexterity and speech. Some staff may use a wheelchair or other mobility aid such as crutches some or all of the time depending on the impact of their impairment. Some physical impairments are fluctuating in impact and, as with all disabled staff, it is important to talk to the staff member themselves about what support or adjustments may be of most benefit to them.

Common issues 

A staff member with a physical impairment or mobility difficulty may experience the following issues when trying to undertake everyday aspects of their role:

  • Walking / travelling between different locations either within the same venue or across different work locations;
  • Carrying bags or equipment;
  • Taking notes in meetings;
  • Delivering presentations or taking part in online meetings due to issues with impaired manual dexterity and using a keyboard and/or mouse;
  • Difficulty participating in meetings or training due to issues with impaired speech.

Common adjustments

As with all forms of disability there is no ‘one size fits all’ list of adjustments that staff with physical impairments and/or mobility difficulties require. However, some common adjustments could include:

  • Provision of a height-adjustable desk and an appropriate office chair;
  • Provision of a specialist ergonomic keyboard, mouse or other input device;
  • Provision of assistive software such as voice recognition or text-to-speech software;
  • Modification of working patterns to allow for more regular rest breaks and working from home;
  • Assistance from a support worker with certain practical activities such as obtaining refreshments, carrying equipment and in limited circumstances personal care.

Note: Where a staff member requires a combination of assistive technology and/or non-medical human support such as a support worker this may be provided through the government’s Access to Work scheme (see the Funding page).

Where there are questions or concerns around a staff member safely getting around a building or being able to evacuate themselves in the event of an emergency please contact the University Safety Office who will work with the staff member and their manager to produce a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) as necessary.

For questions around physical access to a University building please liaise with the central University Estates Services or contact the Estates Access Officer, Ben Smith.

Contact us

Contact the Staff Disability Advisor on