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- GetAHEAD Blog: Self-Advocating at Work
As a result of COVID-19, many workers had to work from home entirely which changed the world of work for many companies implementing hybrid working policies. Hybrid working is a combination of working from home and working from a designated team office. It’s emerging as an increasingly prevalent way to work and to attract and retain employees for companies.
There’s a broad range of different hybrid working protocols out there, with some companies requiring a specific minimum number of days or set days to be from the office. If you are starting a new job, it’s common for companies to require you to work in the office full-time until you are sufficiently trained in before you can avail of hybrid working arrangements.
Two graduates with disabilities who are working in a hybrid environment following their successful placement with The Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) Programme shared some of their experiences of hybrid working.
Paul works 1 day in the office, and the remaining 4 days from his home. He believes that remote working is the overall most accessible mode of working. However, he thinks he has his idyllic set up with one day in the office a week; it allows him to integrate socially and feel more connected to his team and broader work.
Tessa aims to make the commute to her Dublin office once every month. She lives in Galway and uses public transport to make the journey. She has accommodations in place in her office, but she feels more productive in the comfort of her home office, which is optimised for her exact needs.
Both Tessa and Paul view their days in the office as being a social engagement and try to schedule their deeper work for days when they are at home and can get uninterrupted focus. Paul notes that having to commute five days a week depletes the energy, time and enthusiasm of employees who work solely from the office. Meanwhile Tessa comments on the difficulty she felt integrating into her workplace owing to having to be fully remote for the first number of months at the height of travel restrictions.
When asked for their advice for jobseekers, Paul passed down a message he received from his WAM mentor; “Don’t be chained to your desk”. Paul was initially over-eager to prove himself on his WAM placement, now as an established member of the team, he can feel secure in his role and company and can recognise the benefit of taking short breaks to move about and get a refreshment.
Tessa remarks that the WAM journey she has been on has been transformative. You can read more about her experience in Blog: My WAM Experience - AHEAD.
Both Paul, Tessa and a suite of other WAM Graduates can clearly outline the many benefits of hybrid working. Beyond being a consideration for reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, hybrid working policies have many benefits for all staff. There are no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to work, so it’s wonderful to have more options becoming practical in the eyes of employers.
Register on the WAMworks database
WAMworks is our database of students and graduates with disabilities who want to engage with AHEAD. Those in WAMworks gain access to a free range of Think Twice workshops and – these equip jobseekers with key employability skills.
Those registered on our database will also receive notifications of WAM Placements with a range of employers. These placements are exclusively for graduates with disabilities and are fully paid at graduate level and can last anywhere from 6 months up to permanency.