While earning online is an opportunity for everyone, it is particularly attractive for the disabled. Working remotely provides accessibility to paid employment for most disabled people that other forms of employment prevent.
Online business opportunities present the disabled with access to employment where otherwise they would experience difficulties. Because the needs of the disabled can be complex and employers struggle to adapt, even the most capable of disabled people find themselves in situations where they become unemployable. In an environment where a disabled person works online they enjoy the following benefits:
1. Flexible time schedules
2. Choice of work
3. Reduced sense of isolation
4. Increased financial freedom
Control of the environment
Disabled persons usually need to control their environment and are unable to work in clunky, poorly designed work environments, which are often redesigned to meet planning laws after the fact. By being able to control their home or remote environment the disabled person will be able to work more productively. These are a few influencing factors:
1. Wider doorways and greater turning circles for wheelchairs
2. Easy access to bathrooms
3. No waiting for passersby to access out of reach lift buttons.
4. Temperature control
Mainstream employers often do not understand the need to use and update current technology to maintain productivity amongst the disabled. Investment in assisting technology can be difficult for an employer because every disabled person has different needs. However disabled individuals who are self-employed or work from home are able to determine which technology will be useful for them. Examples of enhancing technology are:
1. Speech to text software
2. Talk type, PC based, Android and iOS based and also integrated into telephony
3. Saddle stools – perfect for those with lower limb disabilities
4. Flashing incoming call lights.
The disabled with special needs can access support in order to equip themselves to enter the world of employment. Details of where this support can be accessed by dialing the DLA Phone number and asking to be put through to the specific benefits enquiry line. The disabled can ask specifically for a DEA (Disability employment adviser) who will provide all the details. Types of support available:
1. Benefit extensions
2. Grants and funding for technology and adaptations
3. Access to non means tested benefits (DLA) and exemptions from the bedroom tax
The most obvious benefits include overcoming mobility issues involving commuting to and from the workplace and of course all related costs. Many local authorities will provide free travel passes for the disabled, however recent cuts mean free travel often only becoming available outside of peak hours. Working remotely cuts travel costs for the disabled individual. The benefits surrounding commuting include:
1. Saving on excluded free travel zones
2. No outdoor career/assistant costs
3. Reduced vehicle or wheelchair maintenance
4. Easily staying within mileage limits on the Motability scheme.
Health and well-being
Perhaps the most underestimated benefit in running an online business is the impact that it will have for the health and well-being of the person. Improved impact on health consequences include:
1. Improved self-esteem
2. Increased income leading to healthier eating
3. Fewer comorbid mental health difficulties associated with physical disability.
Internet access and online business has changed life for many disabled people, not only providing access to employment, but also enabling them to engage with other businesses such as doing their grocery shopping, arrange deliveries and even communicate more effectively with the outside world. The benefits far outweigh any disadvantages and as technology evolves the disabled are better empowered to discover equality on the same ground as the able.
Photo Credit: Flickr/SEOPlanter