Employment Inclusivity – The VR contribution to inclusivity in the workplace

DATE / TIME 19/10/2023
9:15 am - 5:00 pm


An Online multidisciplinary conference which aims to support and equip practitioners for the changing world of work and explore how equality, diversity and inclusion can be applied in practice.

Learning Objectives:

To support the professional and personal development of practitioners To become familiar with resilience tools for practitioners and to be more resilient themselves To gain knowledge to help overcome barriers, and improve equality, diversity and inclusion in our practice To raise diversity and awareness in practice and gain insight from an expert panel with the opportunity for questions

Target audience

Practitioners, professionals and managers involved in: Vocational rehabilitation, return to work, job retention and employability HR Occupational health Case management Health and wellness Other sectors with a work, health and/or disability focus

Conference Programme

09.15 – 09.45 Registration and Coffee

09.45 – 09:55 Welcome with our Chair Julie Denning

09:55 – 10:40Designing inclusive remote and hybrid working to support disabled workers with Paula Holland & Aman Navani – The large disability employment gap is driven by organisational inflexibility and non-inclusive policies and practice within the workplace, including inequitable access to effective reasonable adjustments. Working from home has been shown to be positive for disabled workers’ employment, yet employers were reluctant to implement it pre-pandemic.

In our mixed-methods study, disabled workers reported that remote working during the pandemic gave them greater control over their working environments, supporting their physical and mental health, productivity and job satisfaction (Taylor et al, 2022). Inaccessible digital technologies and lack of specialist equipment at home hampered work participation for some participants, but 82% wished to work remotely 60-100% of the time in future. Participants expressed concerns for their health if returning to office-working reduced their flexibility and autonomy.

Our ongoing larger-scale study for the Nuffield Foundation explores how remote/hybrid working can be designed to be inclusive of disabled workers’ needs and preferences, so that it actively promotes their job retention, recruitment and progression.

10:40 – 10:45 Sponsored wellbeing mini break

10:45 – 11:30Considering diverse needs when returning to work in a hybrid environment with Jo Yarker – Over the last three years the world of work has changed with approximately 38% of the UK workforce now working from home or in a hybrid work environment. Flexible work and working from home are effective work adjustments for returners, but much of what we know is based on returning to traditional ways of working and with little attention to diversity and inclusion. Research examining hybrid work among the wider working population reveals a complex picture: managing wellbeing for employees who may not be visible presents a far greater challenge than doing so in a controlled and managed workplace; and evidence suggests that the flexibility of hybrid working may in fact be deleterious to wellbeing for some. This presentation will bring together findings from our research which highlights the need to consider the diverse needs of workers to facilitate a sustainable return to work.

11:35 – 12.20  Line Manager wellbeing – Is it time to stop squeezing the squeezed? With Dr Zofia Bajorek. This presentation discusses the under-researched topic of line manager wellbeing. Line Managers have often been described as the ‘squeezed-middle’ and often deemed as pivotal for maintaining direct report wellbeing and productivity. But what implications does this have on their own wellbeing, and why is this even important? With the changes in the way that work had adapted since the Covid-19 pandemic, is this now more important than ever? This presentation will look at the recent evidence regarding line manager wellbeing, theories about why they have become so squeezed, and recommendations as to how various organisational stakeholders can reduce pressure on line managers for everyone’s benefit.

12:20 – 13:20     LUNCH 

13:20– 14:05  – Workshops A & B:

Disability discrimination / reasonable adjustments / case studies with Emily Yeardley – A practical workshop looking at common situations and examples of managing ill-health and disability in the workplace.


Strategies to ensure inclusive workplaces for neurodiverse people

14:10 – 14:55 – Workshops C & D:

Managing stress and Mental Health in the workplace  with Sharon Patmore and Jennifer Fielder – Stress is a highly topical subject so it’s important to understand more about what organisation can do to manage it more effectively and what practitioners can do to support this. This session will highlight key actions and tools that will be helpful to organisations who want to understand and manage stress in their workplaces. An organisation that has improved their ability to reduce stress at work will share their experiences, including how and what they have done to get to the point of having a reduction in the number of stress reported incidences at work.


Long COVID 3 years on and the workplace with Beverley Knops – Beverly, is a Specialist Occupational Therapist with more than thirty years’ experience. She has spent the majority of her career working with people experiencing persistent pain and fatigue. She worked in North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) for twenty-nine years, starting in the rheumatology service, then moving into the Specialist Pain and ME/CFS services. In 2012, Beverly started work as an associate therapist with Vitality360, a private company working exclusively with people experiencing pain and fatigue. She now leads this specialist team full-time. Beverly is passionate about sharing knowledge and skills with other health professionals.

14:55- 15:00 Delegates back to the main room

15:00– 15:50 Roundtable of all speakers  Q and A Discussion on Disability and Inclusion 

15:50 – 16:00 Closing Summary with our Chair Julie Denning

16. 00 – 17.00 Networking

Save the date and get your tickets early to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited. HERE