As telecommuting has become easier with faster internet speeds, better software, and cheaper hardware, some smart companies have moved to allow employees or whole departments to work remotely from home — or a beach that has Wi-Fi. These companies offer at-home support to employees, opportunities to advance, and benefits.
If coordinating transportation to work is an issue, working from home could be the solution you’ve been looking for. It has been just that for Adam Cale, a C5 quad. Cale lives in a small town in Illinois where disability-friendly jobs are few and far between, but he has worked from home for many years, first for DirectTV, and currently with Apple.
His success shows you don’t have to have a degree in computer science to be able to find a flexible tech job. Before starting at Apple, Cale, whose degree is in graphic arts, went through six weeks of online training in a virtual classroom with other trainees. After only two weeks of mentoring, he was ready to work independently in the company’s tech support department. “It wasn’t until the last week of my training that the instructor realized I had a disability because I mentioned it,” he says. “I was interviewed and hired remotely.”
Cale now works eight-hour shifts and relies on personal care attendants for much of the day. Working from home has made managing his attendants much easier and increased his independence. “If I worked at an office, it could be really awkward having my PCA just hanging out there,” he says. “They’d get bored too. At home, they can go to the other room and work on other tasks or watch TV in the living room.”
No extensive accommodations are needed because Cale works from home and already has things just how he needs them. “I didn’t really get any special accommodations,” he says. “I do get extended break time. I use my typing stick with a regular keyboard, and I asked for a touchpad mouse, but everyone does. The company provides all sorts of ergonomic equipment for their employees who work from home if they request it. So my request wasn’t a ‘special’ accommodation.”
Working from the comforts of home has been invaluable for Cale. “I’m an introvert and like being alone. I often have music playing or Netflix in the background. And when I crave human interaction, I can video chat with my other teammates who work at home too."