Barista Magazine

DEC 2017-JAN 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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25 Mandy can hand out low-cost or no-cost solutions to problems workers of all body types face is a perfect illustration of why a more physically diverse workforce benefi ts roasting companies. Pulling from his experience in corporate America as well as in roasting, Brian Gomez from the Roasted Bean advises starting small and making accommodations as you go, most of which are inexpensive and not at all prohibitive. "So many simple steps can make spaces available that weren't before," Brian says. "There's a learning curve for both workers and companies," he adds, so a good attitude match is key. REAL IMPLEMENTATION A lot of labor-saving systems are costly or intimidating, but even more are inexpensive or free. Most important is the cultural shift that allows new growth and ideas to fl ourish. "If you consider making workfl ow accessible to a more diverse pool of candidates, you're also increasing effi ciency," says Mandy. "Instead of accepting norms and simple versions of workfl ow, you begin to think outside of the box. What might a differently abled person fi nd diffi cult? How do we ease physical strain? I don't think we often con- sider these things with able-bodied folks. I've defi nitely seen the brute strength part of the job glamorized in its way. But it doesn't take much to make these changes." As companies think about improving retention and investing in their spaces, workforce, and company culture, these can and should be considerations. Diversifying staff and making labor setups safer and more sustainable are investments on which the long-term returns are well-documented. Breaking down negative attitudes and real-world barriers around physical disability and limitation benefi ts everyone in the industry, and we should pursue that goal. ÑRJ Joseph At top, Mandy Spirito is pictured using a stepstool to complete roaster job responsibilities. "As a 5-foot-two-inch nonbinary femme, I was constantly ge ing told I wasn't strong enough, despite the fact that I can li more than quite a few of my male friends." Le : Brian Gomez, owner of the Roasted Bean in San Dimas, Calif., designed his roasting space around his needs as a wheelchair user, but says the design wasn't expensive and o en goes unnoticed altogether by ambulatory people. PHOTO BY REED MURRAY PHOTO BY MEDIA SOURCE

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