Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Linden, M., & Milchus, K (2014). Teleworkers with disabilities: Characteristics and accommodation use. Work, 47 (4), 473-483.
Title:  Teleworkers with disabilities: Characteristics and accommodation use
Authors:  Linden, M., & Milchus, K
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Work
Publisher:  IOS Press
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-141834
Full text:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24561921   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Cross-sectional

Structured abstract:

Background:  Telework offers an opportunity to reduce barriers to employment for some individuals with disabilities. However, as a group people with disabilities do not participate in telework as often as those without disabilities. Some research suggest that telework is more likely used by workers in white collar or knowledge based jobs. Understanding best practices related to telework, may encourage employers to adopt this practice as a way to hire and or retain an employee with a disability.
Purpose:  The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between work location, nature of employment, functional abilities and accommodation use. The research questions were as follows. What are the differences in characteristics of employees with disabilities based on telework status? What are the perceptions of employees with disabilities about the accommodative nature of telework? What are the differences in accommodation use for employees with disabilities based on telework status?
Setting:  Surveys were completed online by participants in various settings.
Study sample:  A total of 373 employed individuals with disabilities were included in the study sample.
Intervention:  There was no intervention.
Data collection and analysis:  A survey was developed to examine the types of work place accommodations used, user perceptions about the impact of the accommodation and unmet needs. Respondents were recruited from disability related agencies and social networks. The majority or 97% of participants completed the survey on line. Participants answered questions about employment variables, functional abilities, accommodation use, and characteristics. Analysis of variance techniques, Chi-squared distribution four fold table analysis and multiple independent analysis were used to analyze the data.
Findings:  The sample was skewed towards individuals who were comfortable using computers and the internet. This group had higher educational achievement, as compared to the general population. Forty seven percent of teleworkers reported "telework" as a job accommodation. Within this group 57% reported they were satisfied with telework. Just over three quarters of the group or 76% indicated telework was important to completing job task.
Conclusions:  Barriers to work, associated with pain and fatigue, may be overcome through flexible scheduling which may be available through telework. More research is needed.