When considering an equipment manufacturer to help with an ergonomic accommodation, there seems to be an endless number of options. It may seem easy to select a piece of equipment — like a chair —but there’s an art to finding the right piece, then educating an employee on how to best use what you’ve ordered to get them comfortable and productive at work.
If you find yourself in need of an equipment vendor for an employee accommodation, how do you choose which one to work with? How do you avoid selecting a cool-looking piece of equipment only to find out after installation that it’s really not suited to the ergonomic needs of the employee?
The answer? Work with your disability carrier. Consultants from your disability carrier can help the employee and determine the appropriate accommodation, and hunt down the best equipment and the right vendor to make it happen. Don’t have this resource? Follow this checklist to make sure you’re partnering with true experts:
- Does the equipment vendor provide consultation services? In my opinion, this is the “secret sauce” for choosing the right vendor. You want to work with a company that not only offers great products, but also can provide recommendations based on real experience. You’ll want a vendor that has established expertise and can share true-life examples of equipment they’ve successfully provided for accommodations.
- Are the installers reliable and professional? Helping an employee with an accommodation can be a very personal experience. Completing an installation quickly and doing so in a way that provides a good customer experience will influence the employee’s outlook and recovery. Strive for a service provider that limits disruption so the employee can get back to work with as little disturbance to them and their neighbors as possible.
- Are the installers knowledgeable and forthcoming? With most ergonomic equipment, there’s a substantial educational component involved. A vendor should be able to teach the employee how to properly set up and/or use the equipment. In order for an employee to work with less pain and more confidence, they need to be able to operate the equipment and have the settings just right.
- Will the vendor be available for follow-up or adjustments? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of vendors who install equipment, only to never be heard from again. If an employee’s accommodation isn’t quite right or something is wrong with the equipment, you want to know that your vendor will come back and assist the employee in a timely fashion.
- What’s the return or exchange policy? You probably ask about the return policy when you purchase something pricey — don’t be afraid to get this information from your equipment vendor, too. Being able to swap equipment out promptly and easily will help ensure the employee can get back to their normal, productive self as soon as possible. If you sense that a vendor has a “drop and run” mentality, you should keep searching.
And if you’re able to work with a consultant from your disability carrier, take advantage of the fact that they can help complete this process for you. If not, keep this list handy for your next employee accommodation. These five simple questions will help you track down the right vendors who can collaborate with you on a successful accommodation, from start to finish.