Working from home is becoming the new normal for many individuals and organizations. In fact, many companies are looking forward to this new workstyle and prefer it over the traditional office life. However, the unexpected migration to remote jobs within a short period has shed light on the need for digital accessibility.
This might be a challenge for some businesses, but it’s vital to remain relevant. How can companies make an effort to transform their remote workplace into a truly accessible environment?
Businesses must think innovatively and close the gap to make every worker happy and productive.
1) LEARN ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYEES & ENSURE YOU MEET THEIR NEEDS
According to Bloomberg Law, 60% of employment lawsuits involved companies rejecting remote work accommodations during the pandemic. Most of the time, employers do this because they fear it’s too difficult for employees to remain productive at home. However, this may not be the case – evidence shows their remote work can be quite effective.
The best way for employers to get past this fear is by understanding their workers’ experiences. Ask your team what is working for them and how to make their jobs easier. Let your employees know that feedback is accepted and always acted upon accordingly.
2) UNDERSTAND WHAT MAKES TECHNOLOGIES ACCESSIBLE
Tech tools are what make remote work possible. However, you’ll have a problem if you don’t have the proper features, communication, collaboration, document storage, and project management. That’s why you might consider evaluating the accessibility of remote work tools.
Consider the following:
- Ask for employee feedback first. Can they access and make full use of these tools?
- How was the technology tested for accessibility?
- Does it have captioning, screen reader, and keyboard-only capabilities?
You can ensure you comply with certain requirements once you consider which tools are functional for digital accessibility. For instance, accessible platform design would meet the standards of WCAG 2.1 AA, Section 508, while readily accessible document and report management would allow you to remain compliant with 21 CFR Part 11 and GMP 211.25 / 820.25.
3) MINIMIZE THE BARRIERS
Set your team up for a productive remote work experience by accommodating their working environment. For instance, you can ask your IT manager to minimize the barriers to technology by establishing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
A VDI is a technology used to design a virtual environment. It segments the servers so users can access them remotely through their personal and work devices. One of the advantages of this is that it allows flexibility for end-user devices and has full performance potential.
For example, desktop sharing can connect a remote computer to a host from a secondary location. The user can access files and data by logging into third-party applications.
Many companies find this useful to ensure accessibility while reducing the cost of hardware investment. This allows users to easily connect to the software for work and centralize the hardware, whether in the office or working remotely.
MAKE YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT MORE INCLUSIVE
It’s never too late to advance your company to an inclusive culture. Doing so gives your employees a sense of belonging. Start with simple best practices and keep communicating with your team about the importance of accessibility.
Ensure you’re mindful of everyone’s needs to find more ways to provide accessibility in a remote workforce. Then, keep learning about what it takes to remain successful in a virtual environment.