Last week we ran our first ever Accessibility Breakfast Briefing. It was on the 1st May held at the prestigious Gherkin. A 2-hour long event covering ‘’Creating a digitally focused inclusive workplace with Microsoft 365’’. This was the first of what we hope to be several of these events, spreading the word about the great accessibility features and functions there are available in some of our favourite Microsoft tech.
We started the briefing with a light breakfast and networking. Our very own CEO, Chris Dunning introduced the speakers and briefly touched on what will be covered in the session. He then went on to talk about TechQuarters and who we are.
If you didn’t know already TechQuarters is Disability Confident. and have been for more than 6 months. Disability Confident is a government support scheme to help employers make the most of the talents people with disabilities can bring to the workplace. This means offering the best technology and support for our employees, so they can work to their full potential.
Every single business that employs people need to have the right culture, policies and technology to help everyone achieve more. The future of work is not just flexible working but inclusive working.
Chris also talked about our accessibility journey, which has led to us developing an A.I bot. The A.I Bot Cosmo, designed to train users on accessibility functions In Microsoft 365, sparked great interest. He also demonstrated the bot, how it works and what benefit it can bring to a user who face challenges in the workplace, due to a disability.
Microsoft Guest Speakers
We also had two fantastic Guest speakers from Microsoft, Michael Vermeersch (Digital Inclusion lead and Steven Woodgate (Accessibility Marketing and Communications Lead). We had Hellen Smith (Accessibility Virtual Team Leader) supporting us at the event.
Michael Vermeersch talked about the observations he’s made about the work environment and accessibility in his role as accessibility lead. He gave some great advice about the language we should use with people who have a disability, as well as being open and creating a culture of safe discussion.
Steven Woodgate’s presentation covered his personal story and also demonstrated two productivity functions in Excel and PowerPoint. The great things about these were that were designed for people with a disability, but again can be used and benefit anyone. His overall message was that accessible technology is designed for everyone as disabilities come in many forms – they may be temporary, situational and permanent, which is something to keep in mind when investing in tech.
Question and Answer Session
The session included an interactive Q&A session where attendees in sharing their experiences with becoming or moving towards an accessible workplace. We asked the guests 4 questions around accessibility about how workplaces can start thinking about becoming more accessible with technology, support their employees and have the best experience working.
It was a highly demanded event as many organisations are looking to create an accessible workplace and culture. Our guests enjoyed the event and felt that they had insightful take-aways. We also had positive feedback on the speakers, the venue and catering. Overall a success and TechQuarters will be hosting anther accessibility breakfast briefing in the near future.
For more upcoming events run by TechQuarters, Click here.
For anyone that is interested in using Microsoft tech to become more accessible, TechQuarters have several workshops and surveys designed to help you start on your accessibility journey.
If you’re interested in accessibility tools in Microsoft 365 e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0800 148 8001. We will be happy to talk to you.