Remote Work can be a Solution to Lift People With Disabilities Out of Poverty

Throughout this country, there is a great divide between  rural America and urban and suburban America. All of the jobs are gravitated toward the urban metropolitan areas. This makes it difficult for people living in rural areas if they cannot afford or have the means to travel those long distances to go to work.

Once city, Grundy, VA, is facing a poverty level that is higher than the 75 other largest metropolitan areas in the country. Employment rates in cities like this one are three times lower, and even lower if you have a disability. There are those who work, and there are those who don’t: the unemployed, the disabled, and the addicted.  Some people belonged to all three groups.  Also, people with disabilities over-represented in the minimum wage jobs that nobody else wants.

How many people with disabilities live in rural areas? According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, there are approximately 9 million people in the U.S. rural, civilian, noninstitutionalized population that have a disability of some kind. That is 15.1% of the rural population have disabilities.

With little to no public transportation for people to get from a rural area to where the jobs are at, it makes it almost impossible for a disadvantaged person to find a job, if not keep one. As a result, they remain unemployed since all employers make it a requirement to have dependable and reliable transportation and to work onsite.

People with disabilities also face educational barriers with having the lowest high school graduation rates, which make jobs more difficult for them to come by or keeps them in dead end minimum wage jobs.

This vicious cycle for people with disabilities in rural areas is exacerbated when many of them cannot even afford the basic technology like a laptop or cell phone. For the remote work jobs that do exist, not having the requisite technology makes them unqualified, and therefore, they stay stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty.

If you have a chronic illness or disability, physically going to work can be difficult. If you suffer from say autism, being able to hold down a job is difficult. It is 2018, and with the technology that makes remote work possible, even people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and neurodiversity should be able to find employment, at least part time.

This is a vicious cycle that that could be eliminated if more employers could offer all their employee’s remote work opportunities. A remote job is one that is done away from the office in a remote location. Remote working is a workplace situation in which an employee works mainly from home and communicates with the company by email and telephone. However, one hurdle needs to be cleared, and that is how to get some the laptop or cell phone needed for them to do a job. Is it time for businesses to stop being greedy and put some money aside to help provide a laptop and a cell phone to a person in need? Maybe so.

Remote working has received a negative connotation since it is associated with the term work from home. Being able to work remotely means to work from whatever location you feel most comfortable. This could be done from home, or on the road in the case of a job such as a regional salesperson. A remote job simply one that is done away from the office in a remote location. Remote work would be a great fit for a person with autism or some other neurodiversity disorder. Many people with autism are intelligent enough to get a job done, but need a quiet place for that to happen. In many offices, that is just not going to happen. Their sensitivity to their surroundings makes holding down a job difficult. Remote work, combined with the task analysis app by Clemson University, could be the solution since they can be setup in a quiet place to do their work.

Is there a difference between working remotely and telecommuting?

Well, there is a slight difference. Remote work implies that the worker lives outside of the geographic area of the company’s main headquarters or office. Telecommuting and telework can mean that there may (or may not) be some on-site work being done by the worker.

Regardless of what it is called, remote work (or telecommuting), it can be defined as a working arrangement where the employee does not have to ‘commute’ to a place of work. That means the employee can work at home or wherever there is Internet (presuming that is what is needed to access work files). This fits perfectly with the reasonable accommodation requirement that employers need to meet when hiring someone who has a disability.

What are the benefits of working remotely?

Here are some advantages for companies seeking to become more agile in today’s business environment.

  • Improves employee satisfaction. …
  • Reduces attrition. …
  • Reduces unscheduled absences. …
  • Increases productivity. …
  • Saves employers money. …
  • Equalizes personalities and reduces potential for discrimination. …
  • Cuts down on wasted meetings. …
  • Increases employee empowerment.

There are companies that have remote jobs available for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses that want to work and be productive members of society. With the right accommodations and the willingness of companies to provide the tools needed to do the job, many people can work at least part-time. Now keep in mind it is the law to provide reasonable accommodation to a person with disabilities for employment.

To help you in your job search, we’ve identified 12 companies currently hiring for multiple remote positions.

  1. American Express
  2. Amazon
  3. Apple
  4. Hilton
  5. Humana
  6. Mozilla
  7. Nielson
  8. Philips
  9. United Healthcare
  10. Xerox
  11. Salesforce
  12. GMM Creative Group


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