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  • Accessibility Services

    Logo der ZAB, bunte Kreise mit Schriftzug Zentrale Anlaufstelle Barrierefrei
    Braille keyboard
    © ZAB - Bielefeld University

Design of the working environment

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© ZAB - Bielefeld University

For some forms of disability, it may be necessary to make individual adjustments at the workplace in order to remove existing barriers and create the basis for successful and equal participation of the employee or trainee. Disability-related challenges can thus be addressed and potential disadvantages avoided. Barriers can arise, for example, through the following parameters:

  • the approval of the respective workrooms, easily accessible sanitary facilities or the way from one's own workplace to the university canteen etc. are not barrier-free
  • the number of workstations in offices
  • ratio of compulsory presence and mobile work
  • Noise pollution due to nearby construction sites, work machines, high public traffic or frequent and loud conversations in adjacent rooms, etc.
  • Air quality due to poor ventilation options in work spaces, smoking locations near windows, pollen pollution in the campus environment, allergens such as dust in work spaces, etc.
  • Lighting of workspaces due to lack of darkening options, flickering lights, etc.
  • Heat build-up in workspaces due to location and any opportunities for darkening and cooling of rooms, often resulting in deterioration of air quality
  • Building materials used that may cause or aggravate allergies or illnesses in some people.

The vast majority of the above, exemplary, barriers, are usually easily remedied by individual changes to the work environment. In the case of noise pollution, for example, noise protection headphones, such as those used on construction sites, can provide a cost-effective remedy. The lighting situation can possibly be made accessible by installing curtains.

More difficult, and in reality sometimes impossible, is a change in the structural conditions. The installation of pollen screens or functioning blinds in one's own office may be necessary and justifiably implementable in individual cases. However, if barriers are created by the structural conditions themselves, e.g. by the laid floor (e.g. by triggering or aggravating symptoms of illness or by creating strong odors that are massively impairing for some people, especially those with neurodevelopmental disorders), necessary individual solution options should be carefully explored together with a specialized counseling center.

Work location

Within the framework of the service agreements (DV) on mobile work or flexwork

contain regulations for all employees of Bielefeld University regarding compulsory presence times on campus and the possibilities of choosing a flexible work location at times.


The time requirements of employees with disabilities (from a GdB of 30) or a chronic illness are to be given special consideration in the respective agreements on flexwork or mobile work. Employees with a chronic illness that is not officially recognized as a disability must contact the university's Inclusion Officer for this purpose.


If required by the nature of the disability, employees should be assigned an individual office on campus. This may be necessary, for example, in the case of various mental or neurological illnesses, but also in the case of hearing and/or visual impairments, and much more. The Inclusion Office can be called in to assist with implementation.

Who is eligible?

Severely disabled employees and employees or trainees who have the same status as them have a legal claim against the university for a needs-based design of the working environment if the effects of the respective disability in interaction with the working environment require this and do not represent an unreasonable hardship for the employer. This also includes the right to individual offices.

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