Supporting Visually Impaired Employees Who Are Working Remotely

Categories: Advice for HR Professionals, Remote Hiring and Virtual Staffing

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and factors such as low overhead costs when working with distributed teams, professionals are embracing a remote working culture. 

While working online seems convenient, it may come with a few technical and personal challenges for different types of employees. 

Enter visually impaired remote workers! 

If you are an organization that embraces an inclusive remote work environment (as many others do), you will pride yourself in having a diverse workforce. This should include the visually impaired. 

When you hire a blind or visually impaired person, you are not only hiring them for their expertise but also your capability of promoting a suitable work environment for them. 

Accessibility in the Workplace

Just like in any other work setting, employees require workstations and well-working computers that will allow them to complete tasks and communicate with other team members. 

Unfortunately, there are employers who prefer to leave their employees to their devices as they do not view setting up a workstation as part of their responsibility. But this could not be far from the truth. 

When you create employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired, you should ensure that you provide reasonable accommodations to support their work practices. 

For instance, as an employer, you can transfer your employee’s work gadgets from the office to their homes so that they can continue working. Additionally, the company can provide visual aids to help the visually impaired interact with their technology. Quite often these tools are available at little or no cost to the employer.

It can also offer special support programs where these employees can lodge their complaints and get the assistance that they require. There are also companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google that provide tech support for the visually impaired. 

By subscribing to their services, they will always come through for your visually impaired employees in case they need to troubleshoot their systems or gadgets. You can also hire a professional to help them set up their workstation. 

According to the Equality and Disability Employment Act, visually impaired employees cannot work in the same way as their non-disabled counterparts. As such, they should not face discrimination. Instead, they should get the help that they need. Ultimately, this will allow employees to continue working productively.

Important Tips to Consider

There is always a lot more than you can do to ensure that your workplace is well-accommodating to visually impaired employees. Here are the best tips that will always facilitate a seamless work environment:

Provide the right tools

It is quite easy to provide your employees with the tools that they need to facilitate their work practices. Well-working computers and reliable internet connections are what a majority of employees require to kick start their remote working journey. 

However, with visually impaired employees, you may need to go the extra mile to provide the right tools. You may have to take time and research to find the most convenient work tools. 

For the visually impaired, these include an extra-large work screen, special keyboards, screen reading software and magnification software that your company’s IT team should set up to ensure that it is working efficiently. With the right tools, you can be certain that the employees will meet their work goals.

Encouraging discussion forums and support sessions

Granted, with a support team on standby, you can be sure that your employees are getting the help that they need when it comes to their tech devices. But it is always better to go above and beyond and ensure that they are getting used to their new normal i.e. working remotely. 

By encouraging open online forums where these employees can interact and discuss the challenges that they face on a day-to-day basis, then you will know the improvements to make to better their work experiences. 

Check-in regularly

While working from home may signify comfort for workers with or without disabilities, it does not mean that they will not appreciate constant check-ups from their managers. Often, remote working is associated with isolation and loneliness. 

However, when you take time to check in as an employer, your employees will feel included and appreciate that they are part of a caring team. 

The Bottom Line

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a big wake-up call for many organizations, as it has shown that work practices should be flexible enough to suit all situations and conditions.

 It has also shown that employers should be ready to accommodate their employees’ work needs in cases where work situations change and they need to work remotely. This means the provision of the best possible remote working models for employees with disabilities.

So, whether you are a business owner; CEO of a small to medium-sized business, or a B2B lead generation agency,  promoting diversity and inclusivity in the paramount.

John Dubay
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