In my previous article, I have discussed how the families and caretakers of remote PWD workers can help them in their work. So in this article, I will talk about how the employers of Persons with Disabilities can support them at work. Aside from providing jobs for PWDs, employers should also ensure that PWDs in the workplace feel welcomed and valued.
Providing an inclusive workplace for your remote PWD workers is also highlighted in the Philippines’ PWD employment laws. To further motivate employers to hire and maintain PWD workers, these laws also include incentives for companies with PWD workers. You can find more information about these benefits, and the bill of rights of PWDs, by clicking here.
Communicate with them Regularly.
Let us start our discussion with one of the simplest yet crucial things that you can do to support your remote PWD workers. If possible, schedule regular meetings with your PWD workers to check on their status and if they are experiencing any difficulties. Doing this allows you to get to know your PWD workers and their conditions better.
Communicating regularly with your remote PWD workers also shows that you care for their well-being and that you’re here to support them. Showing your support increases their self-confidence and improves their productivity at work.
So how do you communicate with your PWD workers? This question may seem simple at first. But due to their conditions, communicating with them may prove to be a challenge. To solve this, talk to your PWD workers and ask whether or not they need an assistive device and apps for communication and work.
Raise Awareness on the Workspace.
Just as you need to be aware of the conditions of your PWD workers, their co-workers should also know about it as well. One of the first steps in establishing a more inclusive workplace is raising awareness about the conditions of the PWD workers within the company. Doing so helps dispel the stigma they may have against PWD workers and improve employee morale.
The most common way to raise awareness within the workplace is by holding face-to-face seminars and training sessions. But because of the pandemic and the remote work setup, doing this is impractical.
What you can do instead is conduct these sessions online. Not only is it more convenient for everyone, but it also helps them know how to interact with their PWD co-workers while at home.
Give Opportunities for Remote PWDs to Show their Skills.
Another way you can support your remote PWD workers is by providing opportunities to display their skills. Of course, before you give them any assignments, be sure to know what they can and can’t do first. After doing so, allocate a task to them that’s within their capabilities. Let them accomplish it on their own, but always be ready to support them should they need it.
For example, your PWD worker has a talent for drawing and making designs, and you just happened to need a new company t-shirt design. You can allocate this task to them while providing clear instructions on how you want the design to look.
Avoid Treating them Differently from Regular Workers.
Last but certainly not least, you should never treat your remote PWD workers in a way that they would feel that they’re different from others. Yes, they have conditions that make certain activities difficult for them. But that doesn’t mean you should treat them like children or you’re giving them special attention over your other workers.
When interacting with PWD workers in a group meeting, talk to them like you would with the other regular workers. Doing this makes them feel like they belong in the group and not an outsider. Also, treating your PWD workers as equals helps set an example for your other regular workers to follow.
An Inclusive Workplace is a Strong Workspace.
Despite what some may believe, hiring PWD workers doesn’t weaken your company. In fact, it strengthens it as it diversifies and brings new ideas to the workspace. As an employer, you can help remote PWD workers feel welcomed by following the advice I have discussed. I hope that this article will help you when interacting with your PWD workers in the virtual workplace.