Adjustment, presented by Toby Mildon.
Jonathan: So Toby is going to do this section for us, which is looking at how do you make sure that when people come through that they have the adjustments that they need to thrive? So Toby over to you. I’ll do the slides for you.
Toby: So I just wanted to share a bit of a personal story with you. So, I was born with a rare neuromuscular disability called spinal muscular atrophy, which means that I use a wheelchair and I have, ever since I since I was about three years old. Prior to getting a wheelchair, I could only crawl backwards, and that was my way of getting around. So thank goodness for wheelchairs coming along. But I want to share a personal story with you because Jonathan and I used to work together at the BBC – he was my manager. I then, after the BBC, went to work for Deloitte. And a couple of years ago, I decided to leave a corporate life and set up my own business and work with Jonathan, at the same time. And I wanted to share with you how, you know, working from home for me has always been an advantage. And a personal story was… so a year ago. I needed to go and meet with a client in Canary Wharf. The meeting was first thing in the morning, and I really didn’t fancy getting on the Tube. It would be really difficult for me to get across London on the Tube. And my partner then reminded me that we live quite near the river and like could actually take the boat to Canary Wharf from where we live. And that was such a great idea because I could have a cup of tea on the boat, and then coming back in the evening I could have a glass of wine.
However, when I got onto the boat – I could actually get onto the deck of the boat – I wasn’t able to get inside the boat… I’ve got an attachment on the bottom of my wheelchair that most wheelchairs don’t have. Which meant that I was getting stuck on the door of the boat. So I spent the duration of the journey – which is about an hour – sitting outside on the deck of the boat. In January. And I was absolutely freezing. And when we got to Canary Wharf I could barely drive my wheelchair because my hands were so cold.
That then led onto a blog that got a lot of interest, and got Jonathan and me talking about why the ability to work from home is a good adjustment for me, with a disability, and how technology is really an enabler for me as well. You’ll see that on the screen, for example, on the left is me on the boat, looking quite cold, but on the right is me, sat at home, working on my computer. You will notice on the main screen, I use an on screen keyboard to help me with inputting text into forms and things like that, which was what Graham was talking about. And then I use Dragon Naturally Speaking, speech to text software, to help me work as well. Next slide. Jonathan.
Jonathan: So, organizations normally have a reasonable adjustments process. So, here’s just one example of one. So Microlink are an organization that can help you do this. Say for example, you have a member of staff who’s just arrived, either working in the office or working from home, and they need assistive technologies. Then this process if you like allows you to have an organization to assess the person and say what sort of technologies they need. Here are a few examples. So screen readers for people who are blind, and some other things.
So, Toby, I wanted you to talk about Dragon because that’s probably an assistive technology that people don’t know about quite so much. So why is dragon particularly important for you?
Toby: So for me, Dragon is a very very fast and efficient way of typing. So, I can. It works really really well, when I’m writing documents. So, using Microsoft Word for example I can just speak the text. But I think, more importantly, very easily then edit and manipulate the text. Because there’s lots of inbuilt speech to text software on laptops, but it doesn’t have the level of functionality that Dragon has. So I can literally tell Dragon in fairly natural language, you know, “select text from here to there, and delete it” or “move down a paragraph, move up a paragraph”. And I can also train it to learn words. So, it’s very good at understanding, you know, just everyday English. But of course, there’s words that are not everyday English, like names or business names and things like that. So I can train it to easily understand, understand those names as well.
Jonathan: That’s great. And in terms of mobile usage, you you have, there are particular things you use there as well. Is that right?
Toby: Yeah, I say I’m a mobile-first user, because I’ve got limited movement in my hands. So working from a small screen is pretty accessible for me. I find that actually… I’ve got an Apple iPhone, there’s some really useful just accessibility features that come with the phone. So I use Siri for typing text messages or emails when my hands are cold. Because I can’t really reach the top of the screen, I can use the reachability feature to kind of drag the screen down to reach things at the top. And then, it says on here ‘google keyboard’, but there’s since been an update. But I was using the Google keyboard because you can drag your finger around letters rather than kind of individually tap them. The Apple iPhone keyboard now has that functionality, so I’m now using the native keyboard.
Jonathan: So thank you. And so just one last thing… So differences between technologies in use: mobile, in home and in the office. Just other things that are there as well in terms of adjustments process. Sometimes people will work different hours. Say, Toby works different hours for us, the times when are most convenient for him. And certainly on occasions, it can be performance targets as well.
So, to sum up. Consider workplace adjustments across digital, built-environment or work from home, hours and performance targets. Work collaboratively with your new hire to get the best outcome for them and for you.