Disability and Remote Work 

September, 2020 - Evelyn Rebuli V.

Teleworking is a work tool that opens a world of possibilities for the reinsertion of sectors of the population that have not had free access to work opportunities. It is a feasible option to provide job opportunities to people for whom moving outside their homes is a limitation; limitations that could occur not only to people with family responsibilities – child and elderly care – or students, but also to people with disabilities.

Thanks to technology, today a worker can perform one or more jobs, for one or more employers and from anywhere in the world, regardless their location. The world is more interconnected than ever.

Working from home or from the remote location that the employee designates or that agrees with the employer, generates a range of opportunities. It is a flexible way of organizing work and can be agreed from open hours, second job, part time and even full time. Likewise, it can be done by anyone, regardless of their condition, age or any other particularity.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities cannot access many jobs due to multiple factors, such as their level of disability, difficulty in getting around, infrastructure necessary for their specific disability and the need of assistance to perform certain tasks. However, these difficulties can be reduced with tools such as teleworking, that can create new ways of working for disable people, improve their quality of life and provide a valuable contribution to society.

Within this range of opportunities, it is important to take into account some important aspects:

  1. The employee must have certain skills, both technical and personal to perform the job.
  1. Within the technical competencies we can mention:

    1. be able to use electronic and remote communication tools, such as email programs, internet, chat and videoconferences platforms.

    2. Ability to communicate clearly and accurately.

    3. Be able to develop useful skills to work remotely, such as interest in learning to use new technologies, ability to learn alone, maintain an interest in work and in communicating with colleagues and the company.

    4. Appropriate work habits, ability to organize work at home, ethics, confidentiality, maintain personal balance and communication skills.

 All of the above can be obtained or improved through training programs, not only from the employer but also from the State.

  1. The employer must provide the worker with all the necessary tools to work from home. The potential costs of this can be balanced with the savings in transportation and the adaptation of the working place to the worker's needs and, in addition, it makes it easier for the employee to stay at home, where he already counts with the needed infrastructure to perform his job safely.
  1. The work to be assigned to the employee must be suitable to be carried out remotely, such as call center operators, data recorder, administrative work, collection management, web design and programming, to mention some of the available options.

One the negative side of teleworking that some authors and specialists consider, is the fact that it can diminish the employee’s ability to interact with other people and change of environment, facts that could increase the risk of depression.

Therefore, the effort of society is needed to implement and take advantage of these opportunities, to create government policies and incentives such as procedures to facilitate their implementation, to train workers and interested companies, to provide aid and access to information to population and families with members with disabilities, among others.

It is essential for any employer, to take into account that having an inclusive and diverse work environment generates added value to internal teams, increases corporate values, improves commitment and identification of employees with the corporation and improves both productivity and corporate image.





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