The Challenges Of Working From Home With Dyslexia — And What Can Be Done To Help

Photo by Jornada Produtora on Unsplash

Globally, 70% of people work remotely at least once a week, according to a study by Zug released in 2018. However, despite the abundance of options for many to choose remote work opportunities, as well as the rising popularity of doing so nowadays, those who live with dyslexia and find themselves working from home may face additional difficulties that can make the experience more difficult. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that working remotely can be adapted to fit one’s specific needs in order to ensure the best opportunity for success.

How dyslexia can affect working from home

People with dyslexia can experience significant difficulties when making the transition to working from home. For instance, because most remote job opportunities involve using a computer, difficulties may arise when reading or writing emails and memos, spotting typos in typed work, and following written directions. Due to such issues, a dyslexic employee’s work can be affected in many ways. For instance, in addition to minor errors in the work itself, other issues like difficulty when it comes to meeting deadlines and staying focused can also become a problem — all of which are important aspects of working from home productively and effectively.

Remote work can be particularly difficult for those who live with dyslexia when nothing is done to properly accommodate the condition. For instance, stress caused by the challenges that dyslexia can bring while working can potentially lead to a stress-related injury — within which recognised categories include anxiety, depression, and adjustment and dissociative disorders, making workers compensation insurance a necessity should such an injury occur. However, despite the additional challenges that those with dyslexia may face, it’s important to keep in mind that they are still a valuable asset to any team, and there are a number of tools and ways that someone with dyslexia can effectively adapt to working from home.

Finding a solution

There are several things that can help make working from home much easier for someone with dyslexia, which can not only allow one to work more effectively, but can also make working from home a more enjoyable experience overall. For starters, simply letting a supervisor or employer know of the condition can help gain understanding and allow for an open line of communication in figuring out how to adapt work from home methods to the employee’s specific needs. For instance, opting to use oral communication like voice messages or video conferencing software can offer an easier alternative to traditional messaging or email. However, there are also some things that can be done on the employee’s end that can make things much easier when it comes to getting work done.

Creating the perfect working environment

Creating the ideal work environment can prove vital when working from home with dyslexia, and doing so can be achieved in a number of different ways. For example, setting up a workspace in a quiet space allows for an uninterrupted environment perfect for getting work done. Additionally, wearing noise-cancelling headphones when needed to block out background noise can also be of great help in terms of focusing. Incorporating certain software into the work environment can also maximise productivity. For instance, due to challenges when writing and reading, a voice-to-text software or a voice synthesiser can help immensely by allowing the employee to write and “read” work material like emails, documents and directions. Spell check software can also help eliminate typos and misspellings in written work, and should be a staple when working from home. 

Working from home is rapidly becoming more and more mainstream. However, while it may seem like a luxury to most, those who live with dyslexia can face a myriad of unique challenges. To combat these challenges, there are a number of ways that working from home can be made less stressful and more enjoyable for the employee, enabling them to improve their focus and navigate their work more easily.

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