Disability in the Workplace: How Technology Can Help You Get Ahead
January 30, 2020
By: Patrick Young
When it comes to achieving professional goals, the traditional workplace can present some barriers to people with disabilities. But while it’s true that employees with disabilities may have to deal with some obstacles that others don’t, nowadays, technology is leveling the playing field in the labor market.
For people with disabilities, it’s easier than ever to move up the ladder in your career. Certain devices, apps, and platforms can help you advance in your field. Here’s how modern technology is changing the workplace for people with disabilities.
Remote Job Boards
The growing number of employers opening up remote positions has made full- and part-time employment more accessible for people with disabilities. For someone with a disability or chronic illness, having the option to work from home can mean higher productivity and reduced stress throughout the workday. If you’re on the job hunt, check remote job boards frequently for new openings.
Many people with disabilities also pursue freelance work because it allows for more flexibility in their schedule. Job boards and apps tailored to freelance and remote staff display fresh opportunities for independent contractors on a daily basis, and sometimes, simply exchanging a few emails can lead to lucrative, long-term freelance work.
If you want to be a successful remote worker, you’ll need the right tools for your business. For instance, Use My Ability lists ergonomic keyboards, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition software as examples of devices that may be necessary for remote employees with disabilities.
And when you’re working from home, a reliable smartphone isn’t just a device you use to check social media or chat with your friends. You’ll want a recent model that allows you to connect with your clients during the workday. You should also select a wireless plan that provides you with unlimited data usage, texts, and talk time so that your business can grow.
Whether you’re aiming for a remote or in-house position, you’ll generally have to schedule an interview before landing a job. Everyone gets a little worried before job interviews, but for people with disabilities, interviews can be exceptionally anxiety-inducing. It’s important to know your rights going in: According to FindLaw, the interviewer is not allowed to ask about your disability. But some people find that disclosing this information is helpful because it makes it easier for them to ask for accomodations early on if they get hired.
If you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, and you’re wondering how to bring up your disability, try preparing with an app that helps you practice answering common interview questions. Before you sit down with your potential new boss, you can formulate answers to any queries they might have if you open up about your disability.
Company Review Websites
People with disabilities need to be informed about health and safety protections in the workplace. Yes, we have laws in place to protect workers on the job and ensure certain rights for workers with disabilities, like the right to reasonable accommodations, but unfortunately, not every workplace will follow these laws to the letter. That’s why independently researching a company is crucial before accepting a job offer.
When you want to take a look behind the scenes of a business, turn to company review websites. Are people with disabilities provided with assistive technology when they need it? Are employees discouraged from or penalized for taking sick days? Is the office accessible for people who need elevators or ramps to reach higher floors? What kind of health benefits does the company offer? You’ll want to find answers to all of these questions and more, and company review websites can provide you with feedback from current and former employees.
When it comes to career advancement, people with disabilities have plenty of opportunities to move forward. You may face additional challenges, but today, technology is opening new doors and making it possible to work when you want, where you want, with all of the support you need.