Working Remotely with PTSD
Working remotely can be a benefit to individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), allowing them to control their environment unlike in a typical office setting.
Depending on the person, it may be helpful for people to be in an area that doesn’t have triggers for their PTSD. According to PTSD.gov, common triggers are high-stress situations, big crowds with excessive noise, unnatural light, abundant human contact, strict work environment, a fixed schedule, limited emergency exits, and unsafe work neighborhoods. A lot of that can be reduced by working remotely.
“Unfortunately, individuals with PTSD have high unemployment and difficulties finding jobs,” said Alan Hubbard, NTI@Home’s Chief Operating Officer. “Working remotely can be an option for them. They can often be in control of their situations better.”
Individuals with PTSD enter the workforce having people assume certain things about them before getting to know them or not knowing about their disability.
“There’s a stigma attached to PTSD and traumatic brain injury and other hidden disabilities that many people assume soldiers have when they’re leaving the military,” said Nancy B. Adams, branch chief at the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command in a Fortune.com article.
“Employers have to educate themselves about PTSD, just like they would do with any other condition,” said Hubbard. “They have to be open to hiring people with PTSD and be understanding of their situations.”
People with PTSD are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and offered the same protection as everyone else.
“Like with anyone else, employers need to make sure any accommodations are made when they are needed,” said Hubbard. “Employers should also be sure they are providing any support that is needed for them to be comfortable working remotely. Communication is always the key in managing your employees.”
NTI@Home lessens the initial stress of interviewing by adopting the HireVue platform, which records the candidate’s voice, asks them a series of questions, and uses video games to access their job skills.
“Anytime you can, you want to take any unnecessary stress out of applying for a job or being placed into an uncomfortable work situation,” said Hubbard, whose nonprofit organization has been hiring Americans with disabilities to work in at-home positions for more than 25 years. “You want people to be comfortable and happy with their jobs.”
(If you are an Americans with disabilities, go to www.ntiathome.org to find out more and to register for training and job placement services.)