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  • Writer's pictureMeg O'Connell

Thankful for Disability Inclusion!

Family and friends are seated around a table. A woman is standing up taking a selfie with everyone at the table. People are smiling and giving the peace sign.
Thanksgiving Family Selfie

Today is the day most Americans take a few days off, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on all that we have and all that we are grateful for.

For me this is also a time to reflect on the things I am grateful for related to disability inclusion. The list is long, but for brevity, and as food prep needs to continue, I have chosen the top three things that make me grateful:

1. Remote & Hybrid Workplaces: The biggest workplace disruptor that has occurred over the past few years is the massive adoption and integration of remote and hybrid workplaces. We have said it before, but this has been an incredible opportunity and workplace equalizer for those with disabilities. Remote work benefits everyone, but for people with disabilities it has created workplaces that are truly more inclusive and accepting of accommodations.

2. Mental Health Resources: The pandemic increased our awareness and focus on the importance of mental health. Global corporations quickly realized that mental health of all their employees was a critical need and increased the resources for employees. From expanded employee assistance programs to free memberships to Calm or Headspace to 4-Day work weeks. This is a trend turning into a best practice, and we are pretty grateful for it.

3. Focus on Employee Experience: The Great Re-Evaluation had us all thinking about our work lives and what we were willing to juggle or balance. At first, we believed people didn’t want to work, but we discovered that when employees are impacted by a life-altering event (like the pandemic), they re-evaluate what is important — and where and how they work remain top of the list. People realized they don’t want to work for a company they don’t believe in or drive an hour in traffic twice a day to get to an employer. The employee experience became a hot topic for both recruitment and retention strategies. New ways of working will continue to evolve as employees with disabilities share what works for them and what doesn't.

Lastly, I want to thank our community of nearly 90,000 followers across all our social media platforms. We are honored to have your engagement; we learn from you, and we are thrilled to see the exchanges between members of our community.

Thank you. And I wish each of you a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving!


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