The coronavirus pandemic has left many people feeling powerless as they are forced to work remotely from home rather than going to an office or another type of workplace. While the reason is to protect the health and safety of workers, this move to remote working has unfortunately left many members of the deaf community feeling a sense of disconnect from others.
Fears of Decreased Job Performance
Many people who are deaf or live with hearing loss fear that they will not be able to do their work as well as they could in an office. Specifically, they fear being more unproductive than before they started remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This makes sense as this community is at risk of more isolation than others who are in home isolation. While others use video calls, for example, to keep in contact with work colleagues, deaf people have trouble keeping up when they rely on lip-reading or sign language.
The ease of which video and phone calls are being used by people is more challenging for those who are deaf. They are at high risk of feeling excluded from conversations about their jobs, as well as interactions with friends and family while having to stay inside during the lockdown.
While lip reading is helpful, it requires a lot of concentration for the person doing it, which is tiring. Plus, speakers will talk quickly during video calls, likely, to try to keep Zoom calls short and to the point, which means those who rely on lip-reading might not be able to keep up. As a result, they may not pick up all the information and make a mistake on a future work project because of it.
Making the Workplace More Accessible
To overcome the challenges mentioned above, managers and business owners must reach out to employees who live with deafness and hearing loss. They can ask these workers what they need and make the proper adjustments to provide what is required.
Otherwise, employers risk alienating workers and, even worse yet, compromising the mental health of these people who feel isolated and alone. These same employees are likely stressed too about not being able to keep up with work demands.
Among the technologies that can likely help deaf people are amplified handsets and telephones. This tech can connect to hearing aids to provide the needed assistance.
As well, Zoom video conferences include the option to add closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing. Voice dictation can be helpful too, and online tools are available. Remind them, as well, to make their desk and chair more ergonomic for added comfort. Deals are readily available in the form of Kirklands coupons online.
Furthermore, colleagues can speak one at a time and ensure that they are well-lit in video calls. That way, lips are easier to read by those who do so, enabling everyone to participate in the conversations.
Providing Support in the Workplace
When employers consider what their workers need in their home offices during coronavirus times, they must include considerations for the deaf community. There are significant challenges to address, and that must be done sooner rather than later.