Make working from home with a disability easier by setting up a disability-friendly home office. It can make your days a lot easier when you have a home office space that works for you and your needs.
Working from home comes with a lot of perks, especially for people with disabilities. Once you get a home office set up to work with you and your needs the benefits are even higher.
With more people than ever working from home it’s providing a great opportunity for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has even listed telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation for someone with a disability.
People with disabilities may need to do more to make a workspace at home disability friendly. There are a lot of factors to consider. Some are needed from the start, others can be worked on as time and budget allow.
How to Create a Disability-Friendly Home Office
Consider Your Layout and Space
For those with a physical disability, more attention will be needed in figuring out the best layout to make sure any mobility aids can be used. Keeping large furniture at a minimum, decluttering, and measuring to make sure there is enough space to get around can help.
Also, be sure to remove any potential tripping hazards like doorway thresholds and covering or moving cords that may be in walkways. This is important even for those without mobility aids.
Choose Accessible Furniture
Wheelchair users will want desks that allow for a wheelchair to roll under. You can also find desks with adjustable heights for those that are only part-time wheelchair users or shared spaces.
Some with chronic pain may also find sitting at a desk for too long uncomfortable. I personally work on a laptop in a recliner most days to prevent my chronic back pain from acting up.
You may want to try working in some different spaces for a bit before making any big purchases to know what situation works best for you and your body.
Choose Disability-Friendly Equipment
Consider what your needs are before buying any equipment. Things like height-adjustable computer monitors, larger monitors, oversized keyboards, and other adapted equipment may be useful.
Lighting can be important for many disabilities. Those with vision disabilities may find some lighting works better for them than others. You also need to consider things like the fact that a person in a wheelchair isn’t going to be able to reach a ceiling fan light with a pull cord and you don’t want cords laying all over the floor if you have a physical disability.
Bringing in more natural light is good for your mood and a nice way to add lighting. Using smart bulbs and lights can be useful as people can easily control them from their phones.
People that suffer from migraines and headaches also may find some types of lighting like CFLs makes their symptoms worse. Also having dimmable lights can be helpful in this case.
Keep Things Within Arms Reach
When planning your office think about items you will need often and make sure they are easy to reach from your workspace. Things like pens, notepads, batteries, and even snacks and drinks.
A small cart next to your desk or a desk with drawers can help. Make sure to also keep any essential medicines within reach so you are prepared if you need them.
Bring in Comfort Items
Having items that help reduce stress can be very helpful in a home office. Consider keeping things like fidget spinners, soft blankets, diffusers, and other relaxing items in your office.
If you have the room you can also create a space to take short breaks in your office so that you can spend more time relaxing and less energy switching rooms.
Make the Space Your Own
Don’t be afraid to create the space to work for you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting an Instagram-ready office but what’s important is that the space makes it easier for you to work.
Your space will likely look different than someone without any disabilities and that is okay. You deserve to be as comfortable and happy in your office as possible.
Deanna Piercy says
I’m currently looking for a very comfortable and yet attractive desk chair. I focus better in my office but my current chair is very uncomfortable. I like your suggestion to add a place to relax in your office. I’d like to find a fairly small but comfortable recliner or chair and ottoman.
As for lighting, I have three small lamps in my office as well as two windows for natural light. I rarely turn on the overhead lighting as I am more comfortable in warm, cozy lighting.