As many employers look to continue remote e-working arrangements it is important to recognise that this may be ideal for some but not all.  What adjustments can be made to ensure both productivity and wellbeing as part of this transition?

This project aims to fill a gap in understanding the impact of remote e-working for Disabled and Neurodivergent Workers (DNW)*. This group of workers, 20% of the working population, might be overlooked by employers, therefore becoming invisible and unable to work in a way that best supports their needs and capabilities.

Through interviews with Disabled and Neurodivergent Workers, employers and other stakeholders this project begins to fill a gap in the academic understanding of the experiences facing disabled and neurodivergent people at work.

*This is a UK based term, other terms are used in different contexts and internationally.

Research questions

  1. What is the current state of academic knowledge about remote working and Disabled and Neurodivergent Workers (DNW)?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working for DNW, across public and private sectors?
  3. What are employers doing to facilitate inclusivity and visibility for DNW, who are remote working?
  4. What are the emerging issues for DNW in public and private sector settings, to remote working, and what are the key next steps to increasing inclusivity and visibility?

Method

  • Rapid literature review
  • Semi-structured interviews with 24 DNW, 5 employers and 8 stakeholders

Key findings

The literature review reveals that there is a substantial gap in the academic knowledge on DNW’s experiences of remote e-working. Existing, limited, research is mostly focused on physical disabilities, overlooking other disabilities and neurodiversity.

Key findings emerging from our semi-structured interviews suggest:

  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution; employers should listen to and understand people’s individual needs to make remote working accessible and optimal for everyone.
  • Line Managers need training and support to effectively promote inclusiveness.
  • Overarching remote working policies should be inclusive for all, providing a framework for reasonable adjustments to be well understood and agreed.
  • In developing inclusive policies, employers should focus on optimising access and accessibility and usability of technology.

Further resources

These findings offer important new insights for organisations, and line managers, to reap the benefits of remote working for this group, while taking steps to ameliorate any negative effects.

Watch the animation

Researchers

Principal investigator: Christine Grant (Coventry University)

Co-investigators: Carlo Tramontano (Coventry University), Maria Charalampous (Independent researcher), Carl Clarke (Vodafone)

Digit member: Emma Russell (University of Sussex Business School)

Research Outputs

Academic launches project to investigate the impact of remote e-working on people with neurodiversity and disabilities | Coventry University, Coventry University press release.

Vodaphone news story (December 2021)

Promoting the creation of an inclusive workplace (Open Access Government, July 2022)

Disability, Neurodiversity, and Remote E-working: Promoting the creation of an inclusive workplace (Remote for All) | Coventry University, Coventry University Project page.

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