Remote Work Helps People with Disabilities Land Jobs
Federal data shows that the number of people with disabilities finding employment is increasing. Disability advocates credit the rise in remote work.
In October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report on employment revealed that about 5.7 million disabled individuals ages 16 to 64 were employed the previous month. This represents a jump of about 500,000 jobs compared with September 2021.
“The rising employment numbers for people with disabilities is an extremely positive, encouraging sign that will hopefully continue,” said Amy E. Scherer, senior staff attorney for vocational rehabilitation with the National Disability Rights Network. “The subsequent labor shortage in the wake of the [COVID-19] pandemic has also likely had an impact.”
The number of employed workers with disabilities has drastically increased since February 2021, when just 4.2 million people with disabilities had jobs. In April 2020, when lockdowns were in effect to combat the pandemic, just 3.7 million disabled individuals were employed.
The labor force participation rate of people with disabilities, or the share of the population working or looking for work, was about 37 percent in August 2022, according to an analysis by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire. This is about a 5 percent increase compared with April 2020.
Remote work has shown to be an accessible option for people with disabilities and has helped them find and maintain employment,
There is no hiding the fact that thanks to the pandemic, remote work played a key role in the rising statistics of workers with disabilities,” Basile said. “Remote work is a great reasonable accommodation for both workers with and without disabilities.
Remote work has allowed people with disabilities to avoid stressful obstacles that come with commuting.
Transportation to and from work creates major barriers and unnecessary loss of time for both people with disabilities and employees without any disability. The bottom line is that remote work works, and it helps people with disabilities to work at their highest levels by creating a more barrier-free environment.
When I had my staffing firm I hired a Blind telemarketer who worked part time from home and one day a week in my office. She was diligent and did not take no for an answer when she was cold calling potential clients. Working one day in the office provided the connection she wanted with the rest of the team.
An additional employee was hired to identify qualified candidates for the recruiters. He was visually impaired and use accessible software to do his job. Both employees brought their talents to their jobs. It did not make any difference that they had a disability.
A Harvard University blog cited reports showing that employees with and without disabilities who work remotely have shown to be more productive. They also prefer remote work for its flexibility, work/life balance and savings in commuting expenses.
Many employers offer remote work to boost employee morale and increase employee recruitment and retention. But some employers are requiring all employees to return to the office for work. A September 2022 article by The Wall Street Journal found that workers are returning to U.S. offices at the highest rate since the pandemic began.
Employers that are asking workers to return to the office can both positively and negatively impact workers with disabilities.
This should be looked at on a case-by-case basis for some, this could be detrimental and to others, it could be for the best. Not all workers with disabilities want to work remotely. Many, do prefer working from home or through a hybrid approach.
DISABILITY IS DIVERSITY
By fostering a culture of diversity — or a capacity to appreciate and value individual differences, employer’s benefit from varied perspectives on how to confront business challenges and achieve success. The term refers to the infinite range of individuals’ unique attributes and experiences such as ethnicity, gender, age, and disability. Since disability is a natural part of diversity, businesses can benefit by taking steps to ensure people with disabilities are represented in their workforce.
As with any position, you have to decide what works best for you to show your greatness in the work place regardless of a disability or not.
Let me empower you to be part of a true Diversified workforce.
Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org