Technology as Equalizer, Technology as Empowerment
By Gizzelle Akin, Structured UC Solutions Advisor
May is Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month. As someone afflicted with the Syndrome, I spend most of the month thinking about how to build awareness … and usually do nothing.
This year, on the night of May 31st, I reflected on how I again missed an opportunity to educate people about this genetic disorder. As I mused, I also rationalized — blaming inaction on how busy work had been. Almost immediately, I realized how grateful I am to work in an industry and for a company where my disability doesn’t matter (and how I’m sure it would be ok to build awareness in June, and July, and August…).
After initial diagnosis, one of my biggest fears was that I couldn’t have a full career. That as my pain increased and my ability to walk decreased, I wouldn’t be able to manage my workload and would be a less productive member of the team.
Today, with the help of technology, I don’t miss a beat. I can work just as effectively as my able-bodied counterparts on the days when medical issues arise. Much of this is due to technology tools that allow me to work from home, such as:
- Remote Desktop
- VPN & SD-WAN technologies
- Easy-to-use Two-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication
- Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) tools
- Video Conferencing (both room systems and point-to-point)
- Cloud services, including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS
Structured has many highly skilled engineers who design and implement secure remote access solutions as well as enhanced communication and collaboration platforms. Consider scheduling some time to discuss how tools like these can improve productivity — and even quality of life — for your current and future employees.
And while it is true that not every industry can be supported with remote workers, organizations that are open to integrating new technologies multiply options for all workers – regardless of whether they are off- or on-premises.
For example, according to USA Today, the unemployment rate for disabled workers is about double the national average. With qualified candidates being hard to find for many jobs, these people are an untapped market. One of my colleagues recently offered a job to a quadriplegic gentleman who could type with the motion of his eyes! Talk about technological empowerment!
It has been said numerous times over the past decade, but technology may be the greatest equalizer society has ever seen — and I’m thankful for it every day.
Meanwhile, true to my mission, please take a moment to educate yourself about Ehlers-Danlos and the people, like me, who live with this every day.