Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Virtual Teams - Technologies in the Work Place for Deaf/HOH Professionals

I recently read “A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams", by Yael Zofi.

This book provides insights, tips, and what is expected when working with virtual teams.  Suggested read for anyone who works remotely and/or with split in-office and remote employees.  While virtual team are not entirely new, they have become more commonplace over the past decade. As Forbes magazine pointed out in 2013, today approximately 30 million workers telecommute at least one day a week from their homes (1). 

On the flip side, one thing not often mentioned in business books such as this one: many of the same remote / tele-worker / video conferencing concepts and technologies can also be applied to deaf/hoh workers.  In the past 5 to 7 years, video relay services (like video conferencing), on-line and wireless/mobile technologies (email/instant messaging), and live-captioning have become more widely available for usage in the workplace.  

These are valuable tools that can be used by deaf/hoh professionals to help level the playing field with communication, provide equal access to employment and career advancement opportunities.  Oftentimes, accommodation costs are minimal and employees usually know what works for them.  I encourage managers, human resources / talent officers to reach out and learn about such available tools and services for employees. In many cases, these technologies can be quickly implemented and put to use.

I plan additional blogs on these topics to expand awareness of accessibility tools in the workplace, along with other relevant employment and Economic topics.