With many of us working from home this week, we thought it would be a good opportunity to look at some tips and best practices for telecommuting that will help you make the most of your at-home office. These tips are applicable to anyone working from home; whether you’re telecommuting due to sickness, for convenience, or you’re someone whose physical circumstances make it difficult to access a typical office environment, there’s something here for you.
Earlier in the month, we explored a variety of assistive technology apps that are available as Google Chrome Extensions. These apps were created by third party developers such as Ginger Software, TextHelp, Claro Software etc. and use Chrome as a platform to host their product. What many AT users might not realize is that Google has also created their very own accessibility extensions, and that those extensions are always available for free. The extensions that we’re looking at today can be found through the Chrome Web Store under the “Accessibility” category, or, by clicking here.
“Assistive Technology Services helped me to get a full time job,” Hao beams.
Today, Hao works as a banker in New Westminster, helping customers meet their financial needs and advising financial solutions.
As a bank teller in Kelowna, Natasha helps hundreds of clients a week with their banking transactions. She also has hearing loss in both ears.
“This affects my ability to understand what clients and co-workers need. It is a very loud and distracting environment with a lot of background noise,” Natasha shares. “People speaking in different tones, or with accents, or over the phone can be challenging to comprehend.”
Since the original roll out of extensions in 2010, Google Chrome has become a leading hub of accessible apps for PC and Mac computers. Many of these apps are free or free to try, thus providing users with an exposure to accessibility that was never possible before, and with Chrome being responsible for over half off all of the world’s internet traffic, accessible apps and features have never been more mainstream. And, thanks to the open-sourced origins of this browser, new accessibility extensions are being added every day.
Thomas has dealt with hearing loss for over 20 years. As a geoscientist for much of that time, his hearing loss didn’t significantly affect his work.
“I often worked in remote locations and interacted with just a handful of people,” he says.
After losing that position due to a layoff, however, he found new jobs in first aid and security, and found it much harder to get by.
Zhi, of Vancouver, has worked at a bakery for nearly 20 years. He does a little bit of everything, from packaging to preparing the dough to applying icing to cakes, even stepping in to do delivery across the Lower Mainland when required.
He’s a dependable hard worker who likes his workplace, having “made a lot of friends along the way.” He’s also been diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears.
Theresa is a kitchen designer and office manager for a small cabinet shop in Langley.
“I work very closely with our customers from the first time they enter our showroom through to installation and deficiency completion,” she explains.
Originally created in partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital as a writing and research app for individuals with physical or learning disabilities, WordQ quickly became recognized as an app that could be beneficial to all students, especially for those individuals who struggle with English as a first or second language. Originally created in the early 2000s, this app is now in its 5th iteration, with new features and functions being added in every new version. Today, WordQ is available for iPad, Chromebook, PC, Mac, and as an extension to the Google Chrome internet browser, making it compatible with virtually any modern computer.
In recent years, audio-based entertainment and learning has becoming more and more prevalent with the rise of many audiobook services such as LibriVox, Kobo, and, the subject of this week’s ebulletin, Audible.
Audible not only offers an impressive library of audio-based books, radio shows, magazines, and theater performances, this service features top-tier actors and narrators such as Emma Thompson, Jimmy Carter, John Malkovich, and countless other A-list talents.