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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Making Virtual Working More Inclusive For Employees With Hidden Disabilities

If your company has had a quick shift to virtual working over the last year or so, you might be finding it is having a really positive effect on your employees. There have been plenty of studies on employee happiness with relation to remote working and working from home, but not as many studies have been done on how this affects employees with disabilities.

Making reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate disabilities has been common practice now for decades, and for some businesses, this just comes as second nature, but how do you extend that to working from home? It’s a curious issue that needs addressing, and here are four ways you can help your disabled employees while they are working virtually.

Also Read: How to maintain staff morale while working remotely

Transcribing With Audio Descriptions

Hearing issues affect so many people, and sometimes you may not even notice that your employee or colleague is hard of hearing. For many people who differ with some level of deafness, hearing aids will really help to boost their ability to live a ‘normal’ life.

This isn’t as easy when there are Zoom calls to do, eLearning materials to watch, and videos to consume, which is why you should consider these employees and make sure you’re investing in accurate transcription by using software like Verbit.ai to transcribe your audio.

Using Different Colored Backgrounds

One of the most common disabilities that employees in the workplace face is issues with reading. Dyslexia is a common and well-researched disability that affects the ability to read and decode language. This new virtual working space where emails are sent, documents need reading, and a lot of communication is done by text can prove very difficult for those struggling with dyslexia or other language processing difficulties.

Using colored backgrounds can change the way a dyslexic person sees the text on the screen, in some cases going from a jumbled mess to a crisp and clear easy to read piece of text.

Make sure you ask your colleagues and employees what the best color to use is for them, as everyone is different.

Voice Or Video Call: Let Them Decide

Some people prefer to speak on the phone; others prefer to speak face to face. For employees that have social anxiety, a phone call might be a much more comfortable experience for them, but for employees that have processing issues, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, being able to read facial expressions might be vital in helping them communicate.

This is another area where an open conversation needs to happen to make sure everyone is comfortable.

Using Visualisation In Project Planning

Project planning is big business, and for virtual teams, it can be a nightmare to get everyone together and deciding on how and when to tackle each aspect. This is especially true for employees who struggle with planning at the best of times, like the 11% of adults who have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Use a service like Trello or Monday.com to help all of your team visualize tasks and stay organized.

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