I’ve seen many LinkedIn polls that asked what type of work environment people prefer. In most of these polls, the majority of people selected remote work as their preference. The pandemic has taught many people that they can work from home as well as they can work in the office, if not more so. Which makes sense especially from a disability perspective. If people are disabled by their environment, as stated by the social model of disability, then working from home enables many disabled people.
In-person workplaces are disruptive for many of us. Working from home allows people to create environments in which they bring their best self to work. Outside of the home, people have little control over their environment.
Working from home means employees can follow (more of) their own rules, wear what they like, take breaks when they need to, spend time with their pets and loved ones. Engage in their interests. Which is especially helpful for neurodivergents, many of whom are unable to follow the social rules of most in-person environments.
As an Autist with multiple neurodivergences, I don’t miss working outside of my home. Commuting is a struggle, feels dangerous. While walking, I’m unprotected from weather, noise, and passersby. Though while driving, I’m either understimulated or anxious, highly aware that no matter how well I drive, safety on the road is a group project. Not everyone is a mindful driver.
Remote work grants freedoms to many of those who lack freedom in the workplace, not just disabled and neurodivergent workers. Many older workers, many women, many people of color, many queer and trans people find working from home beneficial as they can avoid microaggressions, unnecessary restrictions on their appearance and mannerisms, and other toxic social pressures.
Many remote workers are learning their true identities, as at home they face less pressure to perform socially. Working remotely means avoiding toxic norms. Also means norms are changing.