A phone, laptop and plant

Technology and the working from home revolution

27th May 2020

Almost all of us rely on technology nowadays and COVID-19 has had a huge impact on how technology is used, particularly with the requirement for as many people as possible to work from home.

The government guidelines state:
‘Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.’

I’ve always worked from home and for many other disabled people it’s more productive and we can save energy without having to commute. However, I also enjoy the social aspect of going out and meeting people face to face.

There could be a perception that disabled people will automatically work from home all of the time and of course this is not necessarily the case. As with anyone else, it should come down to personal choice and the importance of professional and social interaction should not be underestimated.

Having said that, developments in technology and home-working can potentially provide a fantastic opportunity for disabled people who have previously been excluded from certain companies or jobs due to accessibility issues or lack of appropriate technology.

Many companies have embraced this and facilitated their employees being able to work from home.

Helena Wood is the Diversity and Inclusion Adviser for Virgin Money. She commented: “Virgin Money has facilitated as many employees as possible to work from home during the outbreak and is now looking to address future work practices to become as inclusive as possible.

The leadership team recognises a real opportunity to change for good. There’s no going back to what was previously considered normal, only going forward to create a new and agile operating model fit for our future.”

So far with my own work I’ve attended meetings via Zoom and FaceTime. Although it’s not the same as face to face contact, these meetings have worked relatively well and I’m considering interviewing potential PA’s remotely until life returns to normal.

As a disabled person technology is vital for me to live independently, keep in touch with people and do my work. I use my phone for absolutely everything; sending emails, social media, managing my admin, switching my lights on and off and using the television – it’s my life line!

I write this blog on my iPhone as having cerebral palsy has an impact on how I write. The dexterity in my hands means I find it challenging and time consuming to type and I find using a conventional keyboard or tablet very difficult to manipulate.

I’m really enjoying using the creative side of my brain but nevertheless, it is exhausting and my thoughts are often faster than I can type! Unfortunately, software such as Alexa and Siri only recognise my speech intermittently. It’s great when it works but frustrating when it doesn’t. I’m currently researching alternative technology to help me with the blog, such as dictation apps and video with subtitles so watch this space!…

There is already so much technology out there and new ideas emerging all the time. Now is the perfect time to embrace home working and the equality this can bring.

How do you use technology and have you become more reliant on it since lockdown?

Are you currently working from home and would it be your preference to continue once restrictions are lifted?

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

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