Mark Hammer

Hmm, never thought about the disability angle, but it’s cogent. Glad you raised it.

It’s cynical of me, admittedly, but could telework be considered as a potentially cheaper way of accommodating, and be pursued just because of that? Part of me has this image of workplaces being segregated into the disabled, who work from home, and the non-disabled who work in the office. Excuse me while I cringe and shudder.

From a more trusting and positive angle:

a) Not all employers are fully accepting of hiring persons with disabilities. Accommodations that are a good safe fiscal distance from the point of undue hardship can be a boon to persons with disabilities if it encourages employers to think “Well this ain’t so bad at all. And she’s a damn good worker to boot.”.

b) I imagine most cities are strapped for providing assisted/special public transportation for folks with mobility issues. What they can afford to provide is generally not always that convenient or available. Every day, I see folks with mobility issues in my building waiting for their ride, and sometimes they have to wait a looooong time. Indeed, when a bicycle lane was added to our street, there was a kerfuffle because the special public transit vehicles were now obliged to let persons off much farther away from the sidewalk, and when you have to get the wheelchair or walker through all that snow, nobody appreciates it. I’m sure it would be sweet to sidestep all of that by simply working from home.

But all of this, in turn, brings to mind other issues. One of the endgoals of diversity in the workplace is certainly to provide equal chances at employment for persons of equal skill and training. But another goal is also to have the workplace mirror the fabric of society at large. Citizens trust public institutions partly because, when they walk into them, they see people just like themselves, and feel that perhaps their interests are taken into account by that institution. So if everyone works from home and you don’t see them anymore, what happens to diversity? Would it matter as much?