What disabled employees can tell you about working from home
When George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990, one of its provisions required workplaces with more than 15 employees to offer workers with disabilities reasonable accommodation. Twelve years later, in 2002, a federal guidance specifically named remote work from home as a required form of reasonable accommodation.
Today, millions of full-time employees with disabilities or chronic illnesses telework from home, and what they’ve learned can help you be productive during this time of COVID-19 sequestration.
Commuting to an office, store, or other place of business to work creates a psychological separation between work life and home life. Disabled teleworkers can’t commute, so they create this kind of separation at home. Here’s how you can too:
- Establish regular working hours – a standard start time, lunch break, and quitting time. And stick to them.
- Take some time to do a stretching routine or take a walk before your workday starts, as a replacement for your commute.
- Don’t work in the pajamas you slept in. If you want to work in pajamas, that’s okay so long as you change into a fresh pair.
- Pick a home workplace. If you and your spouse are both teleworking, agree to set boundaries and work in separate rooms, space permitting.
- Grow something green in your workroom, and open the curtains or blinds and the windows to bring in natural light and fresh air.
- Structure and schedule your work day – when to check in with your supervisors, when to tackle time-sensitive tasks, which goals to achieve for the day and the week, which deliverables are due when,
- Take advantage of technology: Trello to organize and prioritize your projects, Zoom for face-to-face meetings and chat, Slack for teamwork, file-sharing, conversations and as a digital water cooler.
- Quit at quitting time. Log out of your work email, and do something that tells your brain you’re not working anymore. Read a book, listen to music, watch TV, start on a personal project, start dinner, or use your phone, Facebook or Twitter account to check in with family and friends – secure in the knowledge that the day’s productive work is done.
If you have any questions about coping with the Coronavirus outbreak, or your retirement years in general, please feel free to call or email us. Just as we always have, we’ll be happy to give you honest, objective answers.