We have been on a twenty-two month journey noting the benefits and downside of remote work, particularly for our staff with disabilities. The flexibility that virtual work offers allows employees to better support their families and children and achieve greater work-life balance. Virtual work has reduced stress on disabled staff who rely on personal assistance services for morning routines. Staff with chronic conditions and mental health disabilities have felt more focused in a self-controlled work environment without office distractions. Deaf and hard-of-hearing staff have better communication access through video captioning and on-screen sign language interpreters versus in-person meetings with masks that block facial expressions and prevented lip-reading. We also increased accessibility – particularly for staff who are blind and low vision – when we were transitioning our documents and filing systems from paper to electronic formats. From an accessibility perspective, these learnings can be a strong argument for moving to a hybrid work model – one that balances needs and desires of staff with an in-person culture that builds community, offers a sense of belonging and best serves our consumers, particularly those without reliable digital connectivity or devices.
Source: G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies
Read more: Creating an Inclusive Workplace: Lessons From the Pandemic