4 ways workplace inclusion has changed with the rise of remote work

Discover how the pandemic sped up the adoption of disability practices. Learn about four shifts in workplace inclusion, such as enhanced accessibility features and flexible schedules.

Disability advocates have long pushed for inclusive workplaces that support employees’ varied needs and working styles. But it was the pandemic that sped up the adoption of some disability inclusion practices. 

Here are four ways the work landscape has evolved since then. 

1. Working from home has become the norm for jobs that can be done remotely

Many people who can do their jobs from home are doing just that. It can be bittersweet news for employees with disabilities, who’ve often been told this accommodation wasn’t possible. 

While working from home is an important accommodation for many people with disabilities, for others it can create new barriers. Some people on your team might have disabilities that make this transition difficult. Incorporate inclusive practices wherever you can.

2. Flexible schedules are on the table for many

Homes are now also offices, schools, and gyms. To stay afloat and help employees balance competing responsibilities, companies are adapting

Some employers are now allowing more accommodations like flexible schedules, fewer but longer workdays, and job sharing. Many businesses are showing more understanding when workers need to balance family needs or care for sick loved ones. 

If this acceptance of flexibility holds, it would be a welcome change for employees with disabilities who need to juggle job duties and health needs. 

3. Meetings often come with more accessibility features

Video meetings have been an option for a while. And some of the software options have accessibility baked in.

A good example is Zoom, which has been praised for its accessibility features. Other types of collaboration software also offer accessible functionality.

As people use remote meeting tools more, software companies will learn what people need. Hopefully, this will lead them to develop more accessibility features across many types of remote work products.

4. We’re bringing more of ourselves to work — and companies are starting to approve

An inclusive workplace is an environment where people embrace differences, show empathy, and adapt to changing needs. In short, a place where employees can feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.

While remote workers are separated by computer screens, their personal lives appear in the background. And human concerns, including health needs and family issues, are always front of mind for everyone. The result is that traditional work-life boundaries are breaking down. In response to the question “How are you?” co-workers are more likely to share the truth. 

Learn more about disability inclusion at work and get more examples of workplace accommodations.


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