Digit research on neurodiversity and remote working presented to Parliament

3 May 2024

Dr Christine Grant presented findings from her Digit-funded research into neurodiversity and remote working to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee’s Disability employment inquiry, on Wednesday 1 May 2024.

The research project, Remote for All, was supported by the Digit Innovation Fund and explored the impact of remote e-working for Disabled and/or Neurodivergent workers.

The Work and Pensions Committee is conducting a follow-up inquiry to its 2021 inquiry into the disability employment gap to scrutinise the effectiveness of the Government’s proposals for supporting disabled employment and reducing the disability employment gap.

Dr Grant said:

“Remote working was found overwhelmingly to be a very positive accommodation for this group of people [DNW]. They said it improved their quality of life. [To] quote one of the people: ‘I was able to work, I just wasn’t able to get to work.’ So, there were some very strong statements.”

She went on to explain that the study found there are many benefits to remote working for Disabled and/or Neurodivergent workers, including the ability to take more breaks, better levels of comfort, making it easier to take medications, lack of commute leading to less tiredness, and the ability to control one’s environment. It was also found that there was an increase in productivity. However, there are also risks, including Disabled and/or Neurodivergent workers being more likely to work longer hours leaving less time to fully recuperate from work  and, for some, feeling socially isolated.

Dr Grant also highlighted that the support of line managers was crucial to ensure that benefits of remote working were fully realised and tailored to individual needs.  Dr Grant  is currently developing a toolkit to provide line managers with the guidance they need.

Christine Grant is pictured giving evidence

Dr Christine Grant giving evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee’s Disability employment inquiry

Dr Grant concluded:

“…I would say overall that remote working can help to level the playing field in terms of gaining and also sustaining employment. So, it’s a really important accommodation for many. Obviously, not everybody gains the benefits from that. Some people prefer to go into work. Some people needed that peer support. So, there were very much differences in what we found. And we would say that… it is not a one-size-fits all approach.”

Dr Grant gave oral evidence in the inquiry’s second panel, alongside Helen Lawton Smith, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Birkbeck, University of London; Ian Burn, Professor of Economics at University of Liverpool; and Jacqueline Winstanley, CEO of Universal Inclusion.

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