Championing Workplace Diversity through Technology
Technology has changed the way we work, and in recent years the role of technology in the workplace has had a profound effect on creating inclusion and allowing those with hidden disabilities to not only enter the workforce, but to thrive.
People with neurodiverse conditions like dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s, dyspraxia, or ADHD can struggle in silence - with increased stress levels and lowered productivity. This often means an individual can’t show their true potential at work or they get frustrated and leave an organization. Offering these colleagues the support to flourish makes them feel empowered, motivated and engagaged - it also makes for a more diverse and successful organization.
That’s why we recently hosted a live webcast in partnership with HR.com to demonstrate how our inclusive technology, Read&Write, is having a positive impact on those with a range of neurodiverse conditions, helping them to do their jobs with pride and independence. Here’s what we found to be the most effective benefits of providing Read&Write to neurodiverse staff, as demonstrated by Anna - a HR Administrator for a large organization, who has a hidden disability:
1. Text-to-Speech for Accessibility
Anna launches her email client and sees an email from her HR Manager, flagged URGENT in all caps. Faced with a wall of text and recognizing its importance, Anna reaches for her headphones because reading a large chunk of text can be difficult due to her neurodiversity. She knows that her mind processes information quicker audibly and it’s more convenient and accessible for her to listen to the email.
2. Word Prediction for Easy Working
With two hours to prepare a presentation for a meeting, Anna sets about putting together a wireframe for her presentation. Instead of laboring over spelling, and the challenges her neurodiversity can sometimes flare up, she quickly opens the word prediction tool to help her accurately compose the wireframe before emailing it to her colleagues for their input.
3. Audio for Accessible Information
With just 20 minutes to spare before Anna presents her research in an important meeting, she's trying not to stress. To help her prepare for the presentation, Anna highlights all of her research and clicks on the audio maker button on her Read&Write toolbar. She emails the downloaded audio file to her phone, plugs in her earphones, and takes a walk in the sunshine where she reviews her research - by listening to it - in a less stressful way.
Though Anna’s neurodiversity can make daily tasks a challenge, her neurotypical colleagues can also benefit from the same features that Read&Write offers. Every function the toolbar can carry out isn’t just designed to assist those with hidden disabilities, but gives every member of staff the tools to be more productive or work in a way that suits them best - and organizations are quickly recognizing that technology is the key to empowered and motivated employees.
Contact our Diversity experts to find out how our technology can play a vital role in supporting diversity, productivity, and those with hidden disabilities in your workplace.