COVID:19: How to support employees with a disability

‘It can be difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance when a disabled person is earning their living from home’

COVID:19: How to support employees with a disability

There is much research to suggest that people with disability are unfairly discriminated against in the workforce, despite the known benefits they offer employers. These include taking fewer days off, taking less sick leave, and staying in jobs longer than other workers.

A study by Stats NZ found that employed disabled people were more likely to work part time (30.8%) than employed non-disabled people (20.0%). And 12.8% of disabled and 8.3% of non-disabled employees were temporary employees, working in casual or seasonal jobs.

Moreover, disabled people working for wages and salaries earnt less per week than non-disabled people, with a median income of $900, while non-disabled people earnt $1,016.

In fact, one in five working age New Zealanders have some sort of disability, so ensuring your workforce reflects the diversity of your customers is not just good for your reputation, but also your business.

So, in this remote working environment, how can employers support employees with a disability?

Read more: It doesn’t cost more to hire someone with a disability

A Gallagher Bassett spokesperson told HRD that it’s always important to push wellness and self-care information to your employees with disabilities.

“It can be difficult to strike a healthy work-life balance when a disabled person is earning their living from home,” said a spokesperson from Gallagher Bassett.

“Regardless of what industry you're in, it's important that you embrace the value that disabled employees working from home can provide.

“Encourage these employees to take plenty of breaks and not to burnout working excessively long hours. Stress hydration and keeping healthy foods in the house.

Read more: How businesses can flourish by hiring someone with disability

“Wellness and self-care also provide stress relief. A less stressed, healthier workforce will always get more done. A healthy workplace is a productive workplace, so keep supplying everyone with the right information.”

It’s also important to consider taking the following steps to support disabled employees within your organisation, according to Gallagher Bassett.

  • Tailor your new employee recruitment strategy to always consider disabled professionals who can jump in and fill some remote positions.
  • Consistently provide professional training opportunities to your disabled employees so that they learn skills that improve your company and their life as a professional. 
  • Hold daily meetings or check-in sessions to see how your disabled professionals are adapting. Be prepared to make quick adjustments to make their workflow easier. 
  • Always ask about their equipment needs and whether you can get them set up with something new that will help. Make sure that their video technology is solid and stable so they can participate in these daily meetings. 

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