- The majority (83%) of professionals with a disability or chronic illness surveyed by software development and information technology operations platform GitLab said that remote work enables them to contribute to the workforce.
- GitLab surveyed 3,000 adult professionals who work remotely or who have access to a remote-work option and who have a role with a digital output, 14% of whom reported having a disability or chronic illness. More than half of all respondents said that remote work allows all employees to contribute to the process, values and direction of the company.
- Though 43% of workers surveyed feel it is important to work at a company where all employees are remote, only 1 in 4 belong to such an organization. Still, a strong majority of respondents (86%) said they believe remote work is "the future." GitLab describes itself as an "all-remote company."
Remote work has emerged as a key point in boardrooms recently due to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus cuasing the illness known as COVID-19. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specifically recommends that U.S. employers consider telework options and planning in order to limit the spread of the disease.
Generally, flexible work options may be one method for employers to consider as they plan strategies to market to job applicants from diverse talent pools. Recent research from the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability showed that despite increased focus on diversity and inclusion in organizational recruiting strategies, the national employment rate for persons with disabilities has risen significantly slower compared to other groups.
For those with an acute or chronic illness, or a disability, remote work may be a potential reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, sources previously told HR Dive. Though physical presence at a worksite can be an essential function of a given job, both informal and formal adoption of remote work has grown in recent years. Employers may need to ensure consistency with respect to their remote-work policies in the event they decide to deny telework or remote work as part of an accommodation request.
Employees are split on the question of whether remote work makes them more productive. One 2018 survey by FlexJobs, a job board for remote and flexible positions, found 65% of workers said they'd be more productive working from home than at an office. However, a January survey of workers by Robert Half found 24% of those with remote-work options did not choose to utilize them either because they lacked necessary technology or because they believed there would be too many distractions.
Remote work can also be tied to broader cultural values. Consulting agency Orca Pacific, for example, gives employees 30 days per year to work remotely while traveling as part of its "Human-Centered" benefits offerings.