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How Virtual Work Environments Convey Perceptual Cues to Foster Shared Intentionality During Covid-19 for Blind and Partially Sighted Employees

Lee, Erin (2021) How Virtual Work Environments Convey Perceptual Cues to Foster Shared Intentionality During Covid-19 for Blind and Partially Sighted Employees. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Lee, Erin

The Covid-19 pandemic altered workplaces. For those with ‘office jobs,’ this meant working ‘virtually,’ or remotely, from home. This transition forced organizations and workplaces to exercise flexibility, adapt workflows and rely on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to work remotely. However, Blind and Partially Sighted Individuals (BPSI) face challenges accessing work digitally, setting up their home offices, financing assistive devices, equipment and software, remote communications and employer support (Ginley, 2020). In response, with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), this Major Research Project (MRP) reports on the results of a longitudinal participatory design study investigating the impact of working and training over a distance for BPSI. This study found evidence of assumptions about BPSI, stigma, how effectively ICTs transmit perceptual cues and a physical environment bias where accessibility practices defaulted to the brick-and-mortar workspace. What emerged is a model to assist in understanding how ICTs synchronize experiences for the construction of shared intentionality in virtual work environments. Shared intentionality, the capacity to engage with others in cooperative activities with joint goals and intentions (Tomasello, 2005; Schweikard and Schmid, 2020), was a powerful way to interpret the disparities that BPSI faced as a result of the physical-to-virtual work environment transition. The model is composed of three dimensions: Spatial-topological synchrony is the degree to which spatial perceptual cues, such as through video, spatial audio, or haptics, offer implicit cues, such as gestures, body location, or visual-spatial representations (e.g. diagrams); temporal synchrony is the degree to which real-time interactions clarify intentions; mutual knowledge is the degree to which diverse perspectives facilitate the joint construction of new knowledge and practices. The implications of this model could be significant, as it aids understanding what is lost and gained when transitioning to virtual work environments; this could inform the design of ICTs, organizational policies, training and education, and culture shifts in the workplace in regards to accessibility.

Date: May 2021
Uncontrolled Keywords: blind, partially sighted, employment, virtual work environment, remote work, work from home, assistive technology training, shared intentionality, perception, diagrammatic representation, sentential representation, participatory design
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Inclusive Design
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 14:24
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 20:31
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3423

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