Work-from-Home: A push towards Inclusivity during Pandemic ?

Remote Work and Opportunities

Pandemic has pushed us to modify our understanding of “workspaces”. When we say “going to work” we may no longer visualize the same humdrum routine to commute to work ; Rather it may simply mean switching on a screen and a few extra hours to yourself. And for some, it refers to actual opportunities of work that they were denied in the past due to non-inclusive physical workplaces.

A Step into Inclusivity

The  large-scale organizations are continually working towards inclusive technologies, it may still be non-existent in small-scale businesses, which means few ( comparison error) opportunities for some who   live with disabilities. However, the involuntary move into the virtual office spaces have opened Windows to many who would’ve been denied equal opportunities to people with just as much if not more potential to perform the same jobs.

What does that mean for the population not living with a disability?

A shift in work culture impels the non-disabled population to reflect on their privileges and apparent lack of effort to create inclusivity in opportunity and infrastructure. It has given us yet another instance of understanding disability as a social construct, instead of the inherently biological connotation that the non-disabled population attaches to it, for its own convenience.

Pandemic has also brought us face to face with the reality that enablers are needed to perform all kinds of jobs, it is the need that differs from time to time and person to person. For instance, enhanced video calling technology varies depending on work specifications: zoom for offices, google classrooms for schools and, so on. Without these virtual tech enablers, most of the world would have come to a halt in lieu of the present deceleration.

Is this a win-win situation for all?

No, it would be a grave mistake to believe that work from home is an ideally inclusive state of affairs for all. We must keep in mind that technology is a privilege too and only small populations of persons with disabilities have access to it. Noticeably, not all professions are technology-based. This means a widened pay gap and loss of employment for those with low-income professions. Particularly, in India, not only does this mean a larger income disparity between the rich and the poor but also wider caste-based income divisions.

Conclusion.

Above all, how do we navigate the twists that remote work puts us through? The takeaway is to adopt flexibility and a culture of trust that allows the employees to manage their personal and professional lives in ways that align with their needs and commitments to the company. Not only does this foster satisfaction among employees, but also it will provide organizations with larger pools of populations and talents which will diversify their composition. For example, MNCs now select neurodivergent people to work on data analysis and arrive at never before observed patterns.

We can now visualize flexible and hybrid work cultures that evolve with organizations, where people have a say in how they want to work. People have potential, now the onus lies with the companies to create accessible physical and virtual workspaces and actually work towards the inclusive employment they have long been promising.

Author: Apoorva Sarna.