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When Accommodation Means Telecommuting

Thanks to technology, many jobs can be performed remotely. For people with disabilities, this is especially good news as it provides them with an opportunity to use their skills in an environment already suited to their needs.

Nevertheless, since most job candidates with disabilities who require this accommodation won’t even apply for a position unless telecommuting is stated, HR must first identify the positions where telecommuting is an option. Then, these jobs should be advertised accordingly, with attention to outreach.

How do you go about doing this?

Rather than evaluate every job in the company, begin with open positions. Involve the hiring manager, if necessary, and determine if the job can be done remotely. If there are one or two minor duties that require worksite interaction, consider whether these tasks might be modified or eliminated. If not, can video conferencing take the place of face-to-face?

Once open positions that allow for telecommuting have been identified as such, include a sentence in the job description and the job posting to the effect that the organization will consider offering a telecommuting option to a candidate who meets all the job qualifications.

As part of the job posting, also include a statement about your organization’s inclusive culture; link to the careers section of your website, where additional details are available.

When it comes to posting the job, consider using job boards that focus on recruiting a diverse workforce, including people with disabilities.

Of course, recruiting and hiring are only the first steps in what will hopefully be a long relationship with a highly qualified employee.

“Best Practices in the Home-Based Employment of People with Disabilities” from the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, available for download here, offers guidelines for supervision, career development, communications, and more.