My brother sipped hot chocolate from an orange paper mug as I balanced on a concrete parking barrier. It was late spring 2020, and we were waiting in line outside a supermarket in downtown Toronto, Canada. Three months into a global pandemic, the time had come to restock on what had become a work-from-home staple: instant noodles.
The flexibility to work from home is something that wheelchair users like my brother have been demanding for decades. Managing rigid office hours, personal support schedules, caregiving responsibilities, poorly adapted technology and the clueless questions of colleagues blocks the workplace participation and professional promotion of disabled people in every sector of the economy.
In my brother’s case, the Canadian climate (read: snowbanks) and subway repairs often complicated his commute. However, once the pandemic set in he quickly missed the rituals of going to the office: putting on a blazer, reading in transit, talking with fellow lawyers and buying snacks or supper on the way home.