I owe much of my career longevity and relative success to Apple allowing me to work almost entirely remote.
Working remotely is not just a matter of convenience in The Life Autistic; it’s a way to embrace and promote diversity for us.
All too often workplaces get bogged down in remote work debates (or justifications!) from a convenience, creative, or productivity standpoint. Those are all well and good, but they fail to account for a more inclusive, important factor: people.
We’re in a “bring your whole person” to work era — even if that means you’re bringing in remotely.
So how does remote work promote diversity and neurodiversity?
Remote work minimizes our social burnout
I travel to our sites every so often, and atop an already demanding role, I’m smoked by the sheer number of interactions and meetups that pile on. While I’ve tried to be less popular (hah), it gets tough to save energy for my work when it’s being spent on social capital and interaction.
Remote work allows focus on our terms
Ok, autism-friendly workspace, it’s nice that you let me wear big headphones at my cube in your open office — but that’s only going to help so much. We value our space, place, unperturbed arrangements in a way where we don’t have to drown everything else out, but can make a more focused place to begin with.
Remote work lets us opt in to the essentials
I’ll write about this later! But being able to select my spots for meetings, collaborations, and partnerships has helped my mental well-being, even if I don’t get as much of that organically. And if want to do that, I travel. Win-win.
Remote work allows for our, uh, expression without awkwardness
Are you familiar with stimming? No? Well, it’s a thing — and it’s very noticeable if you watch me for too long at home. In public, I can shut it down, but that takes work. We’re way more free as people when we can segue into stimming without co-workers or colleagues thinking we’re weirder than we already are.
But here is the kicker:
Don’t just offer and tolerate remote options.
Embrace and promote not just the work, but the worker finding their best in it.
Are you actively embracing the growth and benefit it can afford your people? Is it just an option to offer so you can check a box?
Are the opportunities of remote career growth appealing, or are they at a lower tier “because it’s too hard to make it work?”
Are you valuing and finding ways that your neurodiverse remote employees can grow and do more?