In today’s world, remote teams have become the norm. With the advent of technology, people from different parts of the world can work together on a project without ever meeting each other in person. While this has its advantages, it can also pose challenges, especially when it comes to nurturing relationships with differently-abled clients and stakeholders. In this blog, we will explore how remote teams can build connections and foster inclusion with differently-abled clients and stakeholders.
Understanding Different Abilities
Before we dive into the strategies for nurturing relationships with differently-abled clients and stakeholders, it’s important to understand the different types of abilities. Differently-abled individuals can have physical, sensory, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. Physical disabilities may include mobility impairments, while sensory disabilities may include hearing or vision impairments. Cognitive disabilities may affect a person’s ability to process information, while developmental disabilities may affect a person’s ability to learn and communicate.
It’s important to recognize that differently-abled individuals have unique needs and may require different accommodations to work effectively. For example, a person with a hearing impairment may need closed-captioning on video calls, while a person with a mobility impairment may need a wheelchair-accessible workspace.
Creating an Inclusive Environment
To nurture relationships with differently-abled clients and stakeholders, remote teams need to create an inclusive environment. This means designing processes and tools that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Here are some strategies for creating an inclusive environment:
- Use Accessibility Tools: Remote teams can use accessibility tools such as screen readers, closed captioning, and keyboard shortcuts to ensure that everyone can access information and communicate effectively.
- Provide Training: Remote teams can provide training on accessibility and inclusive practices to ensure that everyone is aware of the needs of differently-abled individuals and how to accommodate them.
- Use Inclusive Language: Remote teams can use inclusive language that avoids stereotypes and assumptions about different abilities. For example, instead of saying “wheelchair-bound,” we can say “uses a wheelchair.”
- Make Accommodations: Remote teams can make accommodations such as providing wheelchair-accessible workspaces or scheduling meetings at times that work for everyone.
Once an inclusive environment has been established, remote teams can focus on building relationships with differently-abled clients and stakeholders. Here are some strategies for building relationships:
- Communicate Effectively: Remote teams should communicate clearly and effectively with differently-abled clients and stakeholders. This may mean using visual aids or providing written instructions in addition to verbal instructions.
- Be Patient: Remote teams should be patient and understanding when working with differently-abled clients and stakeholders. It may take longer for them to process information or complete tasks, and that’s okay.
- Show Empathy: Remote teams should show empathy and understanding towards differently-abled clients and stakeholders. This means recognizing their unique needs and challenges and working with them to find solutions.
- Provide Feedback: Remote teams should provide feedback to differently-abled clients and stakeholders on their work and progress. This can help build trust and improve communication.
In conclusion, nurturing relationships with differently-abled clients and stakeholders in remote teams requires creating an inclusive environment and building relationships based on effective communication, patience, empathy, and feedback. By recognizing the unique needs and challenges of differently-abled individuals, remote teams can foster inclusion and build stronger relationships that benefit everyone involved.