Staff with Disabilities and Impairments Network

A support and advocacy group for staff with disabilities and impairments.

If you would like to meet with other staff with disabilities and impairments, a network has been formed. Please contact: Professor Virginia Braun:  v.braun@auckland.ac.nz

Covid-19 tough on staff with disabilities: First network meeting

This story appeared on the intranet , 30 November 2020.

Technical glitches, stress and fatigue all placed staff with disabilities under extra pressure during Covid-19 lockdowns and the effects are lingering, according to feedback at a new staff network.

This year’s International Day of People with Disabilities, 3 December has the theme of 'not all disabilities are visible' which proved relevant at the inaugural Staff with Disabilities and Impairments Network meeting on 17 November.

“It was notable that most of the staff who attended the first meeting had an invisible disability,” says Cathie Walsh, Manager of Staff Equity in the Equity Office Te Ara Tautika.

Invisible disabilities can include learning differences, chronic pain or fatigue, mental illness, brain injuries, cognitive dysfunction, and various medical conditions.

“Discussion at the first meeting was that, for most staff with disabilities, Covid-19 lockdowns had exacerbated their situation,” Cathie says.

“Whether it was staff who need accessible technology, other technical issues, or factors such as stress and fatigue, the lockdowns made it harder to cope,” she says.

“Then, coming back to campus after lockdown, the workplace is not the same as it was before Covid-19 and staff who were under stress during lockdowns have continued to find it challenging.

”Discussion at the inaugural network meeting highlighted the value of having a supportive manager, with those who do so faring far better in lockdowns and on return to work.