As I'm sure many people will already be aware, there has been a real push to move away from remote working, and get workers back in the office.

There is a misconception that, in doing this, people are going "back to real work" or "back to normal", in part due to attitudes like that of business owner Alan Sugar, who said, “I am sick of this working from home culture. The people who benefitted the most from Covid are a bunch of lazy layabouts.”

The truth is that many people simply do better work remotely, or with a hybrid system giving them a choice where to work – and a significant portion of those people are disabled.

Disabled workers who benefit from remote working may have had to struggle their entire lives with no opportunity to work from home, and to see these options become available almost immediately once it suited the needs of non-disabled workers represented, for many, just another way the world of work is incredibly inaccessible to disabled people.

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Rachel Charlton-Dailey, activist and founder of the Unwritten Publication which represents authentic disabled narratives, said, “After being denied flexible working and studying for so long, it was a massive blow for disabled people when it suddenly became manageable on such a larger scale. The message was clear: working from home was only a viable option for companies when it affected their profits.”

I also want to acknowledge that working from home is a privilege that only certain sectors can do (recent data from Dingel and Neiman suggests that over 37% of jobs can currently be done remotely), but I believe there are lessons from this discussion that can be applied to every job, primarily that employers should do everything in their power to make the workplace as accessible as possible for their employees.

For a while now it seems that the prevailing cultural attitude is that employees should feel nothing but gratitude for their employment and as such they shouldn't question the status quo or ask for more.

We seem to forget that work cannot be done without workers, and we can and should always demand more accessible and fairer working conditions for all people.

Hybrid working and the option to work remotely has the potential to make many jobs more accessible to everyone, but particularly those with disabilities, chronic illness and other factors which might preclude in-person employment or make on-site working more difficult.

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Whenever measures which can mitigate stress, hassle and unnecessary struggle while working are proposed, many people view these changes, and the people proposing them as "lazy" or "unwilling to sacrifice".

There seems to be an almost masochistic cultural desire for suffering to be part of the working week. Hard work doesn’t have to be overly uncomfortable or exclusionary, and we should not have to adhere to traditionally inaccessible working environments purely because that’s just the way things were and always have been.

The RNIB reports that there are over 24,000 disabled people waiting for access to work in March of this year. Every single person deserves to have their place of work accommodate their needs, and flexible working in conjunction with other steps towards accessibility can play a vital role in helping disabled people gain rightful financial autonomy.

With disabled workers already earning an average of between £3,700 and £7,144 less each year than their non-disabled peers, inaccessible workplaces represent just one of many aspects of daily life which are rife with discrimination and exclusion for disabled people.

Working remotely can have a multitude of benefits for workers, even down to something as simple as reducing or removing the need to commute.

According to statistics from the Royal Bank of Scotland, 59% of commuters do so by car each day, with the average Scottish commute costing nearly £700 a year – just to get to work to start earning it back.

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This figure doesn't take into account the extra wear and tear on your vehicle, or the cost of any damage that occurs on your commute.

The reduction or removal of a commute can dramatically reduce the cost of working, both in terms of fuel and time. Unpaid commutes spent getting to and from work can take valuable time and mental effort which forms part of the working day without adequate remuneration to reflect this.

The average Scottish commute weighs in at just under an hour a day, over the average working year that works out to over 214 hours of unpaid, self-funded travelling.

Over the average working life, that’s 60 whole weeks that could be better spent with the kids, or watching TV, or sleeping, cooking, eating – 60 extra weeks of living life on your terms.

Perhaps even more simply, when you're in your own environment, you can work more comfortably with many people also finding that it gives them the freedom to burst the bubble of traditional ‘professional aesthetic’.

A lot of workers found their often uncomfortable formal wear no longer necessary when working from home, making everyday work more enjoyable, comfortable and liberating, with nearly one in three UK workers reporting that upon returning to in-person work they would prefer to ditch office dress codes where possible.

One of the main criticisms of working from home is that bosses can’t trust their own staff to stay on task and perform their duties without supervision.

It could be argued that if you don’t trust someone to do their job correctly or honestly, and as an organisation cannot offer them adequate support that you’ve either hired the wrong people, or indeed you’ve got the wrong people managing them.

As part of a cohort who navigated the last few years of their degree remotely, then as someone in a flexible working environment, creating an accessible and flexible environment does require more effort on the part of the provider, but it can absolutely pay off and might even ensure people are less likely to get left behind.

I found remote working an absolutely invaluable tool that helped me balance mental illness and my studies. As a student rep I can say that a lot of people I spoke to, many of whom were disabled, chronically ill or neurodivergent, also found it incredibly helpful to remove the physical barrier to their learning that in-person lessons often represented.

Working remotely doesn’t suit everyone, and I’d never suggest that we should exist in an all or nothing, binary culture of remote vs on-site employment.

A hybrid system, as has been adopted by many workplaces during the post-lockdown transitionary period presents a choice for workers to make their work fit into their lives, not the other way round.

If there is a way to make things more accessible for people, we should absolutely make that option available.

Working life isn’t meant to be some sisyphean task where you just get through it in order to try and recover on your days off.

Employers should make every effort to ensure the people that work for them feel listened to, respected, and have their needs for accessibility met, so they in turn can produce the highest quality of work – in the office or from home.