By Pam Dewey • remote work, working from home, remote work for people with disabilities, benefits of working from home for people with disabilities, remote work and disabilities, accessibility and disabilities, accessibility and disability, remote work and disability • October 28, 2021
During the pandemic, many have adjusted to a new reality: working from home. For many in the disability community, being able to work remotely has long been a goal. Here are some ways remote work is beneficial to many people with disabilities.
Flexibility of work environment
In an article on CNN.com, Gabe Moses talks about spending his work shift “lying on his stomach, resting on a mattress set out on the floor of his apartment. Moses uses a wheelchair because of conditions including dysautonomia, which arises from a dysfunctional nervous system and can affect major organs, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.” For Moses, lying down is more comfortable than sitting in a chair. It also dramatically decreases his fatigue. Previously, he had to commute to work and sit in a chair, which “left Moses in pain and so fatigued, he sometimes lost his ability to speak.” With his new work-from-home arrangement, he has more energy at night, and it has made his job easier to do.
Protects Immunocompromised Individuals
Long before the pandemic hit, many disabled people were concerned about contracting an illness. They may have weaker immune systems due to various co-occurring conditions, which means it’s easier for them to get sick and harder for their bodies to fight against that illness. For immunocompromised disabled individuals, working from home provides further protection from catching COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Don’t have to contend with office accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. That could mean wheelchair ramps, easily accessible bathrooms or providing a fragrance-free environment. When working from home, a disabled person doesn’t need to ask for work accommodations from an employer because their home is already set up for their needs.
Working from home also allows people to be a little more flexible with their time. Forbes writes, “Working from home allows employees the flexibility to schedule doctor or physiotherapy visits without disrupting their work.” People with disabilities often work with physical therapists to manage pain, work on mobility or may need to meet with their doctor regularly to discuss medication or treatment. When not commuting to the office, people have more time and freedom to schedule appointments.
For many people with disabilities, remote work offers benefits. It allows them to be flexible about how/where they work, protects those who are immunocompromised, enables them to work in an environment already personalized to their needs and it provides more schedule flexibility.