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How Working Virtually Promotes Health and Wellbeing

GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
edited May 22 in Guest blogs
Georgia Vine has Cerebral Palsy and is currently studying Occupational Therapy at university. Georgia has had the opportunity to complete a virtual placement as part of her degree. In her spare time, she writes a blog called not so terrible palsy and is an ambassador for CP Teens UK.

Georgia in an electric wheelchair smiling at the camera

Finding a new style of work

Believe it or not I started my virtual placement back in February before remote working was the only way forward. This is because as an occupational therapy student I must complete a role-emerging placement, which is working in a non-traditional occupational therapy setting. This takes away the roles within the NHS or Social Services.

Often these placements take place in charities where an occupational therapist isn’t present, but where they could provide great insight. However, for my role-emerging placement we decided to take this to a whole new level. I wanted to do a virtual placement because some of you reading this will know the massive role that being online has on the disabled community.

So, I thought it was an opportunity to show how occupational therapists could be involved usefully online.

The potential benefits for virtual working

The online disabled community is growing, and it seems like occupational therapists are not part of this. A virtual placement works for me and my cerebral palsy because it is a lot more flexible. This means I can work whenever I want and at my own pace.

shows the back of Georgias head while she is sat at a desk working

If I have a bad night’s sleep then I can have a few extra hours in bed and then work later. Starting work later also works well with my fatigue levels. Another advantage is that I can sit in an ergonomic chair that been made for me, by doing so it supports my posture and helps to control pain. This flexibility would be harder to achieve in an ordinary work environment.

What do you want to achieve?

As an occupational therapist, I would look at the barriers people have to carrying out meaningful activities. Ensuring the activity is meaningful to the person is crucial. We look at the big picture, the individual’s point of view, the environment and the actual occupation.

That means an occupational therapist can help you with everything you do in the day from, getting up to going to bed. For each activity we would analyse it to gain greater understanding. We can grade the difficulty of an activity to help individuals achieve more control and be as independent as they can be.

Different disabilities come with different long-term challenges and some disabilities fluctuate. Therefore, working from home can be the best option to help people manage their daily struggles. Yet not working is also a choice you rightfully have, with this having no bearing on your worth.

Working with a disability

How can individuals with chronic fatigue hold down a 9am-5pm job?

Of course, there will be variability. Some individuals might be able to do this, but for others it’s hard to travel to an office and remain there all day. As a result, working remotely can help them to maintain energy. This is because working from home will decrease the demands on the activity which includes factors such as travel.

Georgia sat at her desk working There is a laptop open and books around her

Also working virtually offers a sense of normality for those who find it harder to leave the house. One of the main aspects to maintaining our wellbeing is being productive. Working virtually helps us to maintain a job, hobby, or just connecting with others. With this resulting in a positive impact on both our health and wellbeing.

For me, this placement has not been an easy ride, but the physical demand has been a lot less than my others and therefore, my motivation to work has certainly increased!

Follow Georgia’s educational and blogging journey by following her blog and Twitter.

How do you stay productive? Do you think you’d benefit from remote working? Let us know in the comments below!

References:
Bryant, W. Fieldehouse, J. Bannigan, K. Creek, J. Beresford, P. (2014). Creek's Occupational Therapy and Mental Health. (fifth ed.) Churchill: Livingstone Elsevier.
Duncan, E. (2011). Foundation for practice in occupational therapy. (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Thomas, H. (2012). Occupation- Based Activity Analysis. California: SLACK Incorporated.
Thomas, H. (2015). Occupation- Based Activity Analysis. (2nd ed.). United States of America: SLACK Incorporated.
2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 

Replies

  • Redstar3Redstar3 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Homework It is usefull todo homeworking it is good Idea  to think work  but not to much  and it can  good for health wellbeing  if we do  work and  other work research. 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    I use colour coding. Every day of the week is represented by a different colored star for example blue denotes Monday, red for Tuesdays and so on. It is a good system. It helps me to remember what to do on what day. I organise all our piles of paperwork in this way too. Blue is for financial paperwork, red means medical paperwork, yellow indicates school related paperwork and green is used for general paperwork. 

    No because I am desperate for this lockdown to end. 
  • GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    @April2018mom the colour coordinating system is such a good idea! 
    2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 
  • AilsAils Community champion Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    A very interesting post @GeorgiaVine.  Thanks for sharing and good luck with your placement and course!  :smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 394 Pioneering
    GeorgiaVine 
    i have been doing things at home for over 15 years now, including creating and running a support organisation for those who have my disability Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) APDUK between 2002 -2014.
    As you say doing things at my own pace and doing the research i need to understand some of the related complex issue on line helped a great deal. Even creating a web site to explain the nature of auditory processing disorder and providing links to the Medical Research Councils APD research program. Using the internet also allows links to other international information sources.

    I use different coloured fonts to help me work around my dyslexia issues at home, Alternating the font colours between sentences, and sometimes using a colour per topic in a long article. It help break down the text in to more manageable chunks. (can not do this on many forums though lol.)

    I hope you find working from home beneficial.
  • GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    @Ails Thank you so much! :)
    2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 
  • GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    @dolfrog That sounds amazing! Working at your own pace makes such a huge difference I'm normally so tired and run down on placements but with this one I haven't been half as bad. 

    The internet certainly does have it's benefits face-to-face can never be replaced but a lot more things can be done online to benefit service users who can't leave the house.

    That's such a create idea for your dyslexia I'm glad that it is working for you.  :)
    2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 
  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 394 Pioneering
    @GeorgiaVine
    I have a google web page which lists some of the multi coloured Graphics I use to help me advocate on both Twitter and Facebook.
    They show some of coping strategies i use, and the results of some of the graphic designs which are part of my relaxation pass times 
    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNDhp33cNwjxmKWp6lm5CH9eyhcKM88GxeUUzQ3m4sul3UuVCTujpbTTb4yvZk0eQ?key=T1BGWk02LVdCMkZxaDVKZGp2elBXSlo4NnFzV2V3 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Administrator Posts: 7,030 Scope community team
    A really interesting read @GeorgiaVine. Bearing your placement in mind, do you think you'd consider remote roles in the future?
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    @Adrian_Scope thank you so much! I’d certainly consider it!
    2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 
  • GeoarkGeoark Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,269 Disability Gamechanger
    I have been able to work remotely with my present company for the last five years. In the past it has been only been the odd occasions but more recently it was included as part of a package to help me cope with my sciatica. Being able to work from home I was able to invest in making it comfortable for me to work, double screen proper computer desk, mono laser printer, though my pride is my GT Omega gaming chair. The Wavlink hub means transferring from work laptop to home laptop is simply moving a usb cable from one to the other. So checking private emails, paying bills or other stuff during my lunch break is a lot easier too. Even something as simple as choosing what keyboard and mouse I can use actually helps a great deal. 

    Software like Skype and Microsoft Meeting enables us to provide telephone support, team meetings etc. screen sharing means we can support one another when trying to do something we don't understand, and the ability to let someone take control temporarily means I was recently able to help a colleague set her monitor up. 

    When we moved to an open office I did find it a lot more difficult to concentrate, a lot more distractions, different conversations going on, so working from home full time now I find it much more easier to concentrate and get things done. Not having to travel is a huge bonus, not only in saved time, but also physically is less exhausting. While it has taken a few weeks to adapt I find it easier to go to bed earlier and wake up in the morning before the alarm goes off. 

    My employer has also found the change has some benefits. Sickness is down, and before the lockdown were very much against staff working from home. Now they are beginning to hint that for some roles working from home may become a permanent option. I can but hope. 

    However I know for some of my colleagues this has been a very difficult time and working from home has been very difficult for them. So I do hope it is an option for their sake. I appreciate that I am lucky as I have my 'office' in the bedroom where I am left alone to get on with my work. Our council arranged for their tenanted blocks to have access to fibre internet directly into their homes, and not via telephone means that I have avoided many of the frustrations faced by my colleagues. Though my favourite one was a colleague whose internet went down and it took him a little while to figure out his 4 year old son did not want to watch the disney channel with his mum and so turned the internet off.

    In terms of remaining productive at work, it is a lot easier when in the office to ask around if anyone needs help when I have completed my tasks. I have found the odd days where I am sitting around with nothing to do, especially after coming back from holiday. Though even then it is a good time to catch up with reading trade magazines, sorting out my inbox or even looking at what online training courses are available to do. My manager has also found tasks that I can do when I find myself with nothing to do.

    Plus I get the luxury of writing a post like this before starting work.


    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • GeorgiaVineGeorgiaVine Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    @Geoark

    First of all sorry for the late reply.

    Yes exactly I can relate it makes life with a disability so much easier. Its hard to set up initially but once it is set up they're many positives. I certainly need to look into more equipment for example I could do with a good camera for when I make my webinars.

    Yeah I have gotten to know more appropriate software over the past few months I still feel like there's a lot that I need to look into and investigate as part of my summer project when I finish my second year of university. 

    You and your employer are right there. I planned my placement well before lockdown and one positive is that it has helped me to get this message across as people are realising that it can be done. I've written many blogs about this during my placement on my website.

    Face-to-face cannot be replaced its just having that option like you rightly said. 

    Yeah I understand that about productivity I mean mine was a part-placement and was quite flexible so although this wouldn't happen in the real world I could essentially do work as and when I wanted which was good as some days they was more to do than others not to mention the add on of the daily changes with fatigue. It was meant to be Monday to Wednesday but as part of this I published a blog every Friday so I had to do work almost everyday to promote the placement some days I only did a few hours but I still came out with the hours I needed each week if not more and I wasn't no where near as exhausted. 
    2nd Year OT Student@sheffhallumuni|Course Rep| Disabled Activist|Ambassador for @cpteensuk[email protected]| Disability Game Changer 
  • Tammyjane33Tammyjane33 Member, Community champion Posts: 490 Pioneering
    @GeorgiaVine thank you for sharing what you do with he community. Working from home /being paid and working from home would be parfect for me. Do you know of any companies that allow you to work from home please that are in the uk. It would be amazing if you could get back to me.
    ❤️Keep up the good work. 
    Tammy _one of the online community champions here on the site. 
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