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Flexible Working for people with disabilities or illnesses

At Capability Jane we know there are many reasons in life that means flexible working becomes desirable or necessary.  A disability or illness can effect employment and work opportunities on a temporary or permanent basis and being able to work flexibly or from home could make a huge difference for many.  This guest blog below has been written for us by Sally Collins and explores how flexible working in the form of working from home/remote working can be an alternative which allows people with disabilities or illnesses to work on continue working and gives guidance on how to make make it work.

Work-From-Home Considerations for Disabled Individuals

For many individuals with disabilities or long-term illnesses, it can be tormenting to try and meet the requirements of a traditional, office-bound job. People who are disabled have to, on average, apply for 60% more jobs than able-bodied people before finding one according to research findings published in The Independent. In truth, most individuals who are disabled want to work but the barriers they face are so prodigious that many end up unemployed and reliant on financial support from the government. Thanks to a tremendous shift towards flexible and remote working in the United Kingdom, individuals living with varying degrees of disability are now able to maintain some of their independence, earning an income while working from the comfort of home.

Don’t neglect to take care of yourself
If you are living with a disability or long-term illness, you will become very familiar with your treatment schedule, knowing how often you have doctor’s appointments or physical therapy sessions and when you have to take your medication. This know-how will enable you to find a suitable job and to plan your work roster accordingly.  Many online jobs such as article writing does not require you to adhere to strict working hours, which may be a great help if you find yourself often tied-up during normal working hours. Don’t ever compromise your own health and well-being for the sake of your work as you may not be able to work at all if you fall ill. Make an effort to follow a healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense food, drink plenty of water, and take regular breaks to keep pesky mind-fog at bay.

Identify and respect your personal limits
When first starting out your work-from-home job, you might feel pressured to prove yourself, working longer and harder than what is ultimately good for you.  It is of vital importance to not let the line between work and home life become blurred.  Try setting office hours where possible, or at least set aside a predetermined number of hours a day during which you will focus on your work. When living with a disability or a long-term illness it becomes considerably easier to overload yourself with work which could end up decreasing your productivity in the long run.  Pace yourself well, especially when starting out as a home-based worker, and slowly increase your workload only if you feel up to it. One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that you will be in an environment that you are comfortable in, with easy access to everything you need to aid your well-being. If you overwork yourself, this comfort will quickly disappear.

Don’t isolate yourself
Loneliness can be very destructive, especially amongst the disabled community who often face obstacles in their daily lives that can make them more likely to be lonely than able-bodied individuals.  A lot of individuals who work from home inadvertently isolate themselves socially, focussing solely on their work. When you work in an office you are in constant contact with your colleagues and clients but at home it is often just you and your PC. Don’t isolate yourself from the outside world once you start working from home. Even if you are typically a homebody, try to establish a few online connections through online communities such as Slack that will be able to motivate you and keep you company while you work. Also, continue to make time for your family and friends as they are often your first line of support when you need it most.

Working from home can undoubtedly open many doors career-wise for an individual with a disability or long-term illness. As long as the above factors are taken into consideration and the job offers respectable numeration, an at-home-job can prove to be a very viable option in an employment market that is often still a hub of discrimination.

Author: Sally Collins

Sally is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her.