Angus is working from home with support from The Developer Society and WorkFit.
The Impact of Covid-19
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 people who have Down’s syndrome have been disproportionately impacted in terms of employment. The majority of WorkFit candidates have been furloughed, sometimes more than once, but despite the challenges of the current situation, we have been heartened by the approach of employers who have offered support for their colleague to work from home, if the type of work is suitable to be adapted to that format.
The innovation of the team at The Developer Society, Birmingham, some of whom are pictured below, is one such example of using technology and ongoing support to manage these difficult times.
Angus’ job role
Angus is the Office Administrator at The Developer Society (known as ‘Dev’ by colleagues who work there), a not-for profit digital agency that uses technology to make the world a better place. He has worked there for 2½ years and is a well-liked and respected member of the team. One of his first jobs was data entry, he told us “I entered client details onto spreadsheets and I was able to find and correct occasional errors”
Angus is passionate about creating inclusive working practices and his role supports the ambitions of digital accessibility. A key part of Angus’ role at DEV lies within digital accessibility testing of websites. He assesses and critiques websites to ensure that they are accessible to everyone and provides his views on a large range of elements such as, how easy they are to navigate, how to find contact details, efficiency of search tools, use of graphics, usability on mobile phone formats, media etc.
Transition to working from home
DEV were keen to set up home working arrangements for Angus in light of the advice around working from home during the pandemic and then latterly when all adults with Down’s syndrome were added to the clinically extremely vulnerable list. Angus told us about how his work has changed since the start of the pandemic and how the team at Dev and his WorkFit Employment Development Officer (EDO) have supported him to continue working. “It’s going fantastic! Once it was all set up and I had some help with the work it was good. DEV made a new form and instructions for me to use when I work at home to help me to work on the websites. We make a good team. I feel good about being at home, I’ve got used to it. I’m used to doing computer work and I’m doing good work that helps people. Molly (EDO) has been amazing.”
Angus is leading the way for other organisations to set up similar home working arrangements by showing what can be achieved by harnessing technology and using online communication tools alongside the support of his colleagues.
You can view Angus’ employee blog on The Developer Society website at: https://medium.com/@devsociety_/angus-office-administrator-at-dev-bbf6084b6a9c
John Dunford, CEO at The Developer Society told us;
“Angus is a fantastic presence in our team. He’s hardworking, professional, and he brings a ton of positive energy to anything he’s involved with. Of course, with the pandemic, we’ve all seen a shift to homeworking where possible and this is particularly the case for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, as adults with Downs Syndrome have been designated.
It’s been really crucial for us as an organisation that we have been able to help Angus adapt his role so that he can deliver his accessibility reports remotely. It not only allows Angus to continue his work – which is an important part of his week as it is for everyone in our team – but it also allows us to continue to make use of Angus’ great insights into the digital accessibility of charity websites. We have been really fortunate that this particular job of Angus’s transfers neatly to remote working because it is a screen-based task. I know this may not apply for everyone as there are a wide variety of jobs and many of them rely on the person being at their place of work, however, I’d really encourage all employers to think of other roles in their organisation that their DS WorkFit colleague could help out with. From data entry in spreadsheets to invoice processing, Angus has done a number of computer-based roles for us and with a little training and support, he’s been a great help with them all.
With some patience and commitment on the part of employees and employers, there is a huge amount of potential out there because there are so many dedicated and hard-working adults with Downs Syndrome who could take on work from home. When helping your team adjust to new working conditions, some people might require more support with that transition than others but there’s a lot of potential out there and I think you have to ask yourself whether there are opportunities you might be missing out on right now? Now is the chance to think creatively and maybe come up with new arrangements that work for everyone”.
Angus receives outstanding support from his colleagues at The Developer Society, who are committed to innovative and inclusive working. We are very grateful for their continued support of Angus and the WorkFit programme.
Angus’ hobbies and interests
As well as working at The Developer Society, Angus enjoys swimming, horse riding, surfing, cycling, kayaking, walking, theatre and outdoor pursuits. He is a trained professional actor and member of Equity and has worked in film, television and on stage. “I also do public speaking as a talk with a Power Point presentation. I talk about ‘My Journey’ with Down’s syndrome based on my own life. I tell how I travel about the country on trains and buses by myself and how I live without any support, in my own flat, so some of my activities are house work and cooking. I have lots of friends and see them at the YMCA and at my Church where I am a sides person and sometimes read the lesson.”
To find out more about WorkFit and how we support people with Down’s Syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives, please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit the WorkFit website: www.dsworkfit.org.uk