Improving Diversity Via Work From Home Jobs for Disabled Adults (Video & Podcast)

6 min read
Work From Home Jobs for Disabled Adults

Work from home jobs for disabled people enabled by COVID resulted in employment rates for those with disabilities rising to the highest level in a decade, and companies need to provide such jobs to take advantage of a diverse talent pool. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how companies can improve diversity by providing remote jobs for disabled adults.

Video: “Improving Diversity Via Work From Home Jobs for Disabled Adults”

Podcast: “Improving Diversity Via Work From Home Jobs for Disabled Adults”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. My name is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, and I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts, the future work consultancy that sponsors the wise decision makers show. And today, we’ll talk about how to improve diversity in companies and provide a version of work from home opportunities for adults with disabilities. Now, let’s talk about adults with disabilities. They are a really untapped labor pool for many many situations. The US government finds that 50 million Americans who are 15% of the population are currently living with disabilities making them by far the largest minority group as such. And they’re often overlooked in hiring practices, despite the CEO desires for more talent from minority populations, and thinking about accommodations for people with disabilities. Now, there’s a lot of executives who are concerned about the extra investments for necessary accommodations. But there was a study by the Economic Innovation Group that showed that the only accommodation that might be needed is simply remote work for people with disabilities. Let’s talk about that. So the disabled and non disabled people face similar job market conditions. Early on in the pandemic, there was a sharp drop in employment there for both people with disabilities and people without disabilities, followed by a slow increase. Now, quarter two compared to pre pandemic, let’s talk about that quarter of 2022. Compared to pre-pandemic, there were 3.5% more disabled people who are aged 5025 to 54, who are employed in quarter two of 22 Compared to before the pandemic, but non disabled adults there were 1.1% less likely to be employed. So, we saw that they faced similar situations non disabled people and disabled people at the start of the pandemic, and then they both recovered, but the non but the disabled people, people with disabilities require recovered their employment recovered much quicker and actually went above what was possible, what was the case before the pandemic, whereas people without disabilities actually stayed lower by 1.1% less likely to be employed, compared in quarter to 20.2, compared to before the pandemic. So this is just because of remote work, but it’s pretty clear that it helped disabled people to hold, get and hold jobs. This was a long standing request by disabled people. So Thomas Foley, who is like, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute states that workers with disabilities, long sought remote work before the pandemic. And they just kept Harry hearing now from executives. And so remote work during the pandemic definitely helped people with disabilities. We also need to think about the economic impact of long COVID. And that is a big, big issue. So the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about 19% of those who had COVID, developed long COVID And recent census bureau data showed that 16 million working age Americans suffer from long COVID with economic costs, they estimate of 3.7 trillion, that’s an unimaginably large number. I mean, considering the whole American GDP is about 20 trillion. That’s a huge, huge, huge, huge hit to our GDP. So let’s talk about employment status. There is a study by the federal bank reserve of Minneapolis, which found that 25% of long COVID patients changed employment status or working hours. So you can think about long COVID Some of it is not going to be so impactful if I had COVID myself, and I know for me, I didn’t have long COVID, my wife had COVID, as well. And it took her several weeks to recover physically from her fatigue. So she had more than that, not quite long, COVID long. COVID is supposed to be more than a month after. So it was probably a little bit more than a month after, but she recovered. But a number of other people don’t recover. And some long COVID symptoms are not too bad, for example, and those I am aware of, they lack the sense of smell and taste. I mean, that’s very bad in terms of internal personal suffering, not being able to enjoy life’s experiences, but it’s not going to majorly impact your ability to do your work. However, 25% of long COVID status patients did change their employment status or their working hours. So 4 million people’s ability to work is affected by long COVID And many qualify as disabled. So there was a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which found that there was a 1.7 million increase in US people with disabilities. So that’s a huge increase of 1.7 million and this growth mainly came from lung COVID conditions like fatigue and brain fog. This is huge. This is a huge hit to our productivity. So brain fog has to do with difficulties with concentration or memory and 1.3 million report increased brain fog since mid 2020. So that’s a huge, huge amount of people who are having difficulty concentrating, have difficulty with memory, which negatively impacts their ability to do their work. remote work, let’s talk about its impact on the long COVID labor force, many many had to drop out of the labor force due to long COVID. But about 900,000 newly disabled people continue working so 800,000 out of that 1.7 million dropped out 900,000 continue working in part that a lot of that is due to remote work without remote work, they may not have been able to continue working, that’s huge. There’s also the Federal Reserve Bank of New York study says a legal aspect to it but the Americans with Disabilities Act can consider long coveted disability. In cases where telework, remote work is an accommodation for fatigue and brain fog. So employers who are covered by employers with over 15 staff and or government agencies must make reasonable accommodations, teleworking, and a flexible schedule is a reasonable accommodation for workers with fatigue and brain fog. And we also, of course, have diversity benefits of employing disabled adults. We know that extensive research shows that improving diversity boosts decision making and financial performance. And companies offering flexible work definitely see a big boost and flexible high end diverse hires. So for example, let’s talk about that meta platform, what used to be called Facebook, decided to offer permanently remote work options, fully remote work options, and it very quickly saw increased diversity results. So it made a plan for its diversity goals in 2019, for five years, a five year plan for diversity goals. So it was supposed to have certain outcomes by 2024. Nobody knew about the pandemic right then. And it’s early on the pandemic and decided to offer fully remote work. And so it’s very huge boosts its goal in its diversity of populations of black people, Hispanic Alaskan native, Native American veterans and women. It’s reached by 2022, early 2022. It reached its 2024 goals in a number of aspirations like for hiring black people, Hispanics in the US and women around the globe. And it also saw a big boost in employees with disabilities who increased from 4.7% of Metis employees to 6.2%, from 2019 to 2022. That’s a pretty huge boost. So it increased by 1.5%. And that’s huge considering that was 4.7%. So that’s about a quarter more people with disabilities we didn’t have before compared to the proportion of your workforce, which is huge. And that from what the people in charge of hiring diverse talent. So the chief diversity officer at Mehta says that is due to remote work, where people who are repressed underrepresented from minority groups were much much more likely to apply for remote work positions than for in person positions. And so that’s how they got all the talent from companies like Apple, and Google and so on, that were less willing to be flexible and offer remote work. And success stories. Let’s talk about those. So my consulting for 21 companies and hybrid remote work, crucially showed that there is increased recruitment and retention of disabled staff. So that’s why the platform’s in support. From my consulting, I very clearly see that disabled staff are both in it helps to retain them and recruit them. So those with long COVID symptoms, mobility challenges, and weakened immune systems are hesitant to come to the office due to COVID risks. So all of those folks are definitely more likely to work for your company. If you give them full time remote work or most remote work, some people disabled people do like to come to the office occasionally, in order to socialize, connect with people, but there’s going to be a whole bunch who went full time remote work, and it’s very important to offer to them, if you want to recruit them and retain them. Now, that unfortunately, is a challenge from a perspective of some biases that a lot of executives have. So many leaders overlook remote work benefits for underrepresented groups like people with disabilities because of in group bias, which is a mental blind spot the cognitive bias causing leaders to focus on the concerns of those they perceive as part of their in group, so people who are not living with disabilities and leads to really harmful statements and ludicrous statements. For example, Jamie JPMorgan CEO

Jamie Dimon said that returning to the office will aid diversity. I mean, that’s absolutely not The case, it very much harms the diversity benefits of people with disabilities and also of other folks like let’s say, women who need to be much more often caretakers, it harms their ability to work for your company, black people have a much higher desire to work much more time remotely than white people. Because on average, of course, we’re talking about averages. And so because black people still reported they face microaggressions and discrimination in the office. And so there is much higher desire to spend much more time working remotely, where they face much less discrimination and microaggressions. Another two cognitive biases that are dangerous are called the empathy gap. So it’s difficult to empathize with those who aren’t part of your group, like the people who are disabled, whether they’re employees or prospective hires, it’s difficult for employers to empathize with them. And for other people with disabilities. Like, for example, black people being discriminated against, and women needing to be caretakers. If the leader happens to not be a woman. Unfortunately, we still have too few women in top leadership roles. And the admission bias, it’s a perception that failure to act is less problematic than acting, for example, executives see the lack of support for people with disabilities as insignificant, that lack of support is not significant. And that’s a big problem with Mission bias. And so there’s a big cost ignoring remote work for people with disabilities, because that really harms the bottom line, it limits your talent pool by 15%. It harms your ability to recruit and retain diverse candidates. And it puts organizations in potential legal hot water for violating the ACA. And there’s a competitive advantage for offering remote work to people with disabilities because that allows companies to recruit underrepresented candidates, expand their talent pool by 15% and lower the cost of labor while increasing diversity. So that’s why the future belongs to companies that offer such flexibility. Alright, everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the wise decision maker show, please make sure to leave a review. It really helps other folks discover the show and helps us learn how you like the show and improve the show based on your feedback. And please make sure to subscribe to the channel wherever you checked us out on YouTube, on iTunes, wherever you check this out. Alright everyone. I look forward to seeing the next episode of the wise decision maker show. In the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends.

Transcribed by

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at