Accommodation - Definition and Explanation

Accommodation – Definition and Explanation

Understanding Accommodation within the Framework of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In the sphere of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), accommodation plays a pivotal role in cultivating an environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds feel valued and respected. Grasping the concept of accommodation is crucial for organisations striving to create inclusive spaces. 


Accommodation refers to the adjustment of policies, practices, or environments to ensure fair treatment and access for individuals with different needs, backgrounds, or characteristics. It involves recognising and addressing barriers that may impede full participation or inclusion. Accommodation isn’t about granting special treatment but rather about providing equal opportunities for everyone.

Importance of Accommodation in DEI:

Accommodation is fundamental to DEI initiatives as it promotes fairness, respect, and accessibility. By accommodating diverse needs, organisations foster an inclusive culture where individuals feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. Without accommodation, marginalised groups may face systemic barriers that hinder their ability to thrive within an organisation.

Key Aspects of Accommodation:

  1. Accessibility: Ensuring physical and digital spaces are accessible to individuals with disabilities by providing accommodations such as ramps, elevators, screen readers, and alternative formats for information.
  2. Flexibility: Offering flexible work arrangements, including remote work options or adjustable schedules, to accommodate employees’ diverse needs, such as caregiving responsibilities or health conditions.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Recognising and respecting cultural differences by accommodating religious practices, dietary restrictions, language preferences, and cultural traditions.
  4. Inclusive Communication: Adapting communication strategies to ensure information is accessible to all individuals, including those with sensory impairments or language barriers, through methods such as plain language, sign language interpretation, or translation services.


Consider a workplace where an employee who uses a wheelchair encounters difficulty accessing certain areas of the office due to architectural barriers. To accommodate this employee, the organisation installs ramps and adjusts workspace layouts to ensure accessibility. Additionally, the company implements remote work options for all employees to provide flexibility, benefiting not only the employee with a disability but also others who may require flexible arrangements.


Incorporating accommodation into DEI efforts is essential for creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. By proactively identifying and addressing barriers, organisations can foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, leading to improved employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall success. Embracing accommodation reflects a commitment to equality and serves as a cornerstone of inclusive workplaces in the 21st century.


Beaver, D., & Zeevat, H. (2007). Accommodation.

Glasser, A. (2006). Accommodation: mechanism and measurement. Ophthalmol Clin North Am19(1), 1-12.

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