There was a time when we thought that COVID-19 would only be a problem for a month or two. Unfortunately, that was nearly two years ago and this virus is still strongly affecting the lives of people around the world. As a result, many organizations shifted to a remote work policy – or are shifting back as Omicron becomes more prevalent.
For individuals with disabilities, working remotely can be a huge benefit – or a huge challenge, all depending on how organizations support them. The good news is that there are a ton of remote work tools available for people with disabilities that can make working remotely convenient.
Clean Online Management Systems and Portals
Project management systems and chat apps are more important than ever as more people are working remotely. However, these systems need to have very clear structures and rules for people with disabilities. Not only will this structure benefit people with disabilities, but having an easy structure to follow can be useful for the entire team.
Create a guide on how to use these systems and ensure that everyone receives training on it. The training should also be accessible, available both in video and written format.
Remote American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation
Zoom and Google Meet are both excellent tools for remote employees. However, for people who are hard of hearing or Deaf, they can result in additional communication barriers. Including a remote interpreter on the call provides access to important meetings.
While most video conferencing technology includes some type of caption service, people who use ASL may prefer to get their information this way. Additionally, working with an interpreter allows them to participate in the meeting in real-time.
Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) Services
For those who are not fluent in ASL or prefer to get their translation through captions, CART services are available. CART services can be useful for meetings, large virtual training sessions, and even in-person training sessions for those who are meeting onsite again.
When you use CART services, you also have the added benefit of receiving a full transcription of the meeting or training afterward. This is great for anyone who was not able to attend, missed something important, or prefers to learn by reading over listening.
Screen Reading Software
Team members who are blind or visually impaired may prefer to use screen reading software. There is a large variety of this type of software available and it is often low cost. It is important to make sure that your project management software and other platforms are screen reader friendly before employing this type of software, though. Accessibility is key.
Most people have computers and all of the necessary accessories available to them at home – but this is not the case for everyone. You should always provide anything that your employees need to do their job, whether they are working in the office or from their homes.
Employees with disabilities start out with a disadvantage to begin with. Ensuring that they have the proper tools and equipment to do their best work evens the playing field and is beneficial to your business.
Need more information about accessible remote work from home tools for people with disabilities? Applied Development can help you create and implement a plan for your remote employees. Give us a call today at 410.571.4016 or contact us online for more information.