The UK’s remote workforce is blossoming. 40% of employees now work remotely, making the UK the work-from-home capital of Europe. So what can workplace leaders do to support their remote workforce and ensure productivity?
One way to improve communication, focus, and connectivity between teams is through Assistive Technology (AT). Long thought of as tools for neurodivergent individuals and people with disabilities, AT can improve working conditions for every member of a remote workforce.
To highlight the benefits, we’ll share key data on AT along with five specific ways it can improve outcomes in this blog post.
Data Shows the Benefits of Running a Remote Workforce
Current data shows that giving staff the chance to work flexibly is beneficial to a company’s bottom line. And here are some stats to back this up.
- A 2022 report by Microsoft said hybrid working increases productivity by 5%.
- 80% of surveyed finance professionals have embraced hybrid working. As a result, they’ve noted a 77% increase in productivity.
- 2022 data from ONS revealed that over 50% of home and hybrid workers reported an improved work-life balance and fewer distractions.
- More than half of UK workers report feeling more productive when they work from home.
- By 2030 more than 2 billion people will need more than one Assistive Technology tool to support them.
How Can Assistive Technology Support a Remote Workforce?
So what exactly can Assistive Tech do to support a hybrid or remote workforce? Here are five key ways to note.
1. Offers a Better Sense of Control
Many people with disabilities and neurodivergent conditions have a life-changing experience when they shift to remote working. Having the chance to control sensory inputs like temperature, lighting, and sounds can improve focus and output.
Assistive Technology tools like Caption.Ed and TalkType encourage better control of working environments by giving staff the option to add live captioning and notetaking to Zoom or Teams meetings. Staff can also control when they join or leave meetings.
2. Flexibility through Asynchronous Tools
A report by Buffer showed that 67% of staff think remote working offers better flexibility. And it’s communication and project management tools like Slack, Teams, and Notion that can support this flexibility.
As a form of asynchronous Assistive Technology, these tools allow a remote workforce to exchange messages, texts, and documents when they’re able to. And without the need to respond in real time.
With better flexibility to communicate and meet deadlines, a remote workforce will be more productive. By avoiding any expectation they’ll receive instant replies or reports within a 9-5 structure, staff can increase and not reduce productivity levels.
3. Narrowing Communication Barriers
For staff who have difficulties with communication, Assistive Technology offers a range of dynamic functionality. For instance, around 11 million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss. And many of them depend on AT tools like hearing aids and screen readers for support.
As a leading AT tool, Caption.Ed offers a range of bespoke features to support staff with hearing loss:
- Staff can add live captions to any Facetime meetings and scroll back to any words or phrases to get a better sense of context or understanding.
- They can record each session and then go back into the Caption.Ed library to retrieve a recording and transcript.
- Recording sessions allow staff to focus on lip reading, body language, and facial expressions. When matching this to a transcription, they can then add context to the meaning of words and enhance comprehension.
4. Improving Focus and Reducing Distractions
Assistive Technology like Caption.Ed can improve concentration levels and reduce distractions by generating transcriptions to refer back to. When members of a remote workforce have ADHD, anxiety, or other types of neurodivergence, AT tools can do the notetaking for them and allow them to give their full attention to real-time communication.
By covering the task of note taking for them, Caption.Ed reduces feelings of overwhelm and stress by allowing staff to concentrate on the moment. But it also reassures them that all meeting notes and transcriptions will be stored in an efficient library system.
5. Supporting Wellbeing
Better control over working environments can lead to improved wellbeing. For instance, working in a crowded, busy, fast-paced office can heighten feelings of anxiety and stress. And when staff can work in a more controlled environment, they can reduce their levels of stress and overwhelm.
Remote working also reduces any pressure staff may feel to engage in ‘Masking’. This is where neurodivergent staff use extra energy to conceal or hide aspects of their personality to better fit in with the people around them.
Companies that support remote working can also improve wellbeing by recruiting telehealth services. By offering remote, on-demand diagnostic assessments, companies can give staff a chance to improve their wellbeing and the solutions they deploy to them. And, according to UNICEF, telehealth is a valuable tool for improving access to assistive technology for populations across the globe.
Caption.Ed is the Perfect Assistive Technology Tool to Support your Remote Workforce
Assistive Technology can bridge communication gaps and workplace productivity in a hybrid or remote workforce. But it can also improve the wellbeing of employees with neurodivergent conditions.
Caption.Ed is a subscription-based desktop and app-based tool designed with the accessibility needs of the end user at the top of our designers’ minds. Our design decisions focus on removing barriers for a remote workforce by reducing sensory overwhelm and eliminating communication barriers.
And, by allowing end users to customise their tool and experience no in-app distractions, Caption.Ed offers easy-to-use and intuitive technology that can change working patterns for the better. Get started with a subscription to Caption.Ed by choosing a package that works for you and your remote workforce.