Telework: Work from Home as Rising, Universal Accommodation

This study will examine the rate of home-based work by disability status, doing comparisons to pre-2020 outcomes on these measures. We will also examine whether these arrangements continue in 2021 when the crisis will (hopefully) be over, indicating whether the COVID-19 crisis created a short-lived change in working arrangements or a more long-lasting change in the structure of work. We will also conduct a survey of teleworkers with and without disabilities in large companies to identity the rate of home-based work before and after the crisis. We will also explore the effects of telecommuting on work-family boundaries, workload and responsibilities, and job satisfaction.

Featured Research

Mason Ameri, Douglas Kruse, So Ri Park,Yana Rodgers, Lisa Schur
Many people with disabilities benefit from working at home, and the pandemic has increased employer acceptance of telework, but the current occupational distribution limits this potential. Tighter labor markets during the recovery offer hope that employers will increasingly hire people with disabilities in both telework and non-telework jobs.
Giuseppe Pagano, Nanette Goodman, and Pam Williamson
To investigate the impact of COVID-19 on disability employment, Ari Ne’eman and Nicole Maestas examined employment trends for people with and without disabilities over the course of the pandemic and during the economic recovery that followed using data from the Current Population Survey. To further unpack the issue, the authors examined these trends within particular types of occupations. They found that this employment growth was heavily concentrated in teleworkable, essential, and non-frontline occupations (which are overlapping categories), with the strongest gains in teleworkable occupations.
Giuseppe Pagano, Nanette Goodman, and Pam Williamson.
For years, people with disabilities have advocated for remote work as a reasonable accommodation to address commuting barriers, home medical needs, environmental sensitivities, fatigue, and other employment barriers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that telework may be a form of reasonable accommodation under the ADA. However, employers have often denied telework accommodation requests, claiming that physical presence in the workplace is an essential part of the job.
Douglas Kruse, So Ri Park, Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, Lisa Schur
This article examines the extent to which employees worked from home because of the pandemic, focusing on differentials between people with and without disabilities with implications for cancer survivors. We use data on COVID-19 from the Current Population Survey over the May 2020 to June 2021 period. We present descriptive statistics and the results from regression and decomposition analysis. We found that while workers with disabilities were more likely than those without disabilities to be teleworking before the pandemic, they were less likely to be teleworking as a result of the pandemic. Differences in the occupational distribution account for most of this difference. People with disabilities experienced relatively more pandemic-related hardships as well, compared to people without disabilities, including a greater chance of not being able to work due to their employer losing business and more difficulty in accessing medical care.
Lisa Schur, Mason Ameri, and Douglas Kruse
The COVID pandemic was a severe blow to all workers, but it may ultimately have a silver lining for some workers with disabilities if it makes work from home easier and more acceptable. In addition, the pandemic is shaking up traditional workplace structures and causing employers to rethink how essential tasks can be done, which may broaden their views of workplace accommodations. We assess the potential for the pandemic to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

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