Understanding Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace

Not all disabilities are readily apparent. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) describes a disability as any condition, physical or mental, neurological, or cognitive that may cause considerable impairment when performing major life activities.

If you think of someone with a disability, your mind automatically goes to physical examples, a deformity, use of a wheelchair, or a prosthesis. These disabilities are both recognizable and acceptable. Most people view “invisible disabilities” as inconsequential.

According to a study by Qoqual (formerly Center for Talent Innovation), only 39% of employees have disclosed their conditions to their managers or co-workers. Even though employees are protected under the ADA, this protection only takes place if they disclose their condition.

Protected? So why do employees keep their invisible disabilities silent? Edgar Allen Poe said, “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” People with unseen disabilities fear discrimination. Others worry about sharing their disability for fear of needing “reasonable accommodations.” They may worry they will be seen as incapable vs. having a limited disadvantage; and laid off from their jobs.

Employers cannot afford to overlook employees with “invisible disabilities” if they want to build a psychologically safe, thriving workplace. Lack of disclosure by the employee makes it difficult for even the most well-meaning organizations to support their employees adequately. Efforts to improve inclusion can also impact your company’s productivity, as it will provide a contribution to company morale.

People who disclose their disabilities to their managers are more than twice as likely to report that they were happy with their jobs. That’s a tremendous difference to belonging.

You do not need to go overboard sharing information, but being transparent with your own wellbeing should be viewed by your employer as a powerful example within your team. It has become important to educate and to disrupt the silence around what it means to live with an invisible disability.

In April of 2019, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. For the reasons mentioned above, I did not fully disclose ALL my invisible disabilities that resulted from surgery and ongoing treatment. Over time, my challenges increased. It became exhausting to hide them, creating an environment of stress, frustration, and fear.

In hindsight, I should have disclosed progressive disabilities sooner. When I chose to disclose them, Exertis Almo provided me the opportunity to engage in comfortable conversations with management and human resources. They genuinely cared about my wellbeing and supported my choices toward my future initiatives.

As I approach retirement, I will provide education to schools children and small businesses, as well as through blogs about invisible disabilities. I will volunteer at hospice and nursing home facilities with a “soon to be” certified emotional support dog. I can brighten the lives of others, while keeping in perspective how blessed I am with the inconvenience of having invisible disabilities.

So, the next time someone parks in a handicap spot without an apparent disability, do not assume they are selfish. If a colleague has a response delay and needs to gather their thoughts, please do not assume they lack intelligence. When the person in front of you is driving more slowly than you would like, please be courteous and pass them kindly. We are trying to keep you safe.

People with both apparent and invisible disabilities do not look for sympathy. They look for patience, understanding and support. It is no different than working with someone with autism. It may be more challenging, but that does mean they are unable to contribute. To sum it up in a parody; a fish is unable to climb a tree, only because they do not have the ability. But that same fish can swim upstream, against all odds, and thrive.

My management team at Exertis Almo fully supported me in writing my final blog with the company addressing the topic of “invisible disabilities.” I’d like to extend a thank you to Exertis Almo’s executive management and human resources for providing me support and understanding in my decision to start my next journey.

Corinne O'Rawe
About the Author

Corinne O’Rawe | DSCE

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: LG Business Solutions (NE, SE, MW)

Digital Signage | the Why, the When and the How for Choosing the Right Solution

Digital Signage is All Around Us

Are you struggling to gain customer attention and loyalty through your media investments and digital signage solutions? Every day, digital signage is a part of our lives. Whether you are viewing a menu board at your favorite restaurant, checking your flight status at an international airport, or even using social media, digital signage is all around us. So, how do we help our customers take logical steps to keep their business expanding?

Signage Options are Growing

More and more businesses are using digital signage for interactive solutions, forms of communication, wayfinding, and more. The possibilities are endless. When you are helping your customers choose a solution for their business, it is important to understand the many digital signage capability options, and what the industry has to offer.

Considerations for Helping Customers Choose the Right Solution

So, how do we help our customers understand solution options while advising them on a solution that will serve their long-term goals in a constantly changing industry? And even before we start a “technical” conversation, what questions do we ask to help guide our customers into a digital signage mindset?

Georgia museum LG case study

The Visuals

Think about the advantages of being able to show pictures, being dynamic, getting the customer, employee, student, or retailer interested through graphics – it just makes sense.

Branding & Advertising

Not only does digital signage provide a solution for visually enhanced communication, but it can also bring in advertising revenue “It is not just a sign.” The signage becomes a strong advertising vehicle that can be updated with new content over time as messaging needs to change.

Target Markets

As technology has developed and display solutions evolve within the Pro AV market, there are multiple markets demanding it, such as schools, churches, retail stores, community banks, medical campuses, and more. Almost any target market can utilize signage. As Pro AV trusted advisors, it is our job to help qualify the customer and guide them to think outside of the box.

Environment | Interaction

  • What type of premises?
  • Are there waiting areas?
  • Do you know the regulations for outward-facing displays?
  • How far away will the audience or end customer be?
  • Should the signage only display content?
  • Do we want the customer to interact with the equipment?

The Technical Aspects

  • Are the premises equipped with a wireless network?
  • What type of equipment will be the most adapted to the needs? (Transactional terminal, kiosk, tablet, etc.)
  • Nature of the premises? (Leisure, HOW, EDU, health, shopping, business, work, etc.)
Georgia museum LG case study
Georgia museum LG case study
man listening video call

Content | Content Management

  • Do your clients have the resources to take care of content creation?
  • Can and will they manage their own content?
  • What resources are available?
  • Should or can the end customer interact with the content?

Exertis Almo is Here to Help You Help Your Customers

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will be able to offer your clients suitable solutions among the possible devices. Exertis Almo is the nation’s largest professional audiovisual distributor with forward-thinking product integration, training, managed services, and technical support providing customers the full distribution experience on a local and personal level. We have Business Development Managers to help you with digital signage solutions such as outdoor, dvLED, custom OLED, Conference Room Solutions, Commercial TVs, services, and more. We will help you open doors to new opportunities for your customers, with full solution sales, at a competitive price, with hands on assistance.

Contact Exertis Almo for product info, inventory availability, or to start a quote.
Corinne O'Rawe

About the Author

Corinne Furmanek-O’Rawe | DSCE

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: LG Business Solutions (NE, SE, MW)

Back to Work in 2021

Going back to work is a perfect time for organizations to embrace technologies and solutions like digital signage to improve communication and employee engagement. They may have no idea how, but do know that they need to improve how their employees interact with the business in an ever changing environment.  Others may know exactly what they want to do, but they need some guidance as to how to bring their vision to fruition. In both scenarios, it is important that we take everything into consideration.

“Digital signage has come into its own, as lock down has begun to ease in some areas, but the next challenge is how to extend the use of these solutions as the masses return to work”, says Shaun Oxenham, CEO at MediaStar Systems.  Digital signage can be found in numerous public spaces.  And the businesses that house these spaces are prone to “head back to work” at some point in time.   Public spaces, highway signage, offices, museums, stadiums, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, educational institutions are all familiar with the benefits of signage.  Using digital signage is a great way to attract customers and gain the attention of the masses.  People are more likely to pay attention if you are displaying promotions, sharing business information or instructions.  Digital signage is not only meant to digitally promote sales, or share social media.   Digital Signage is meant to create an experience and should be entertaining.

2020 has been a year of challenges, yet we have and need the ability to adapt.   Employers have had to make endless changes.   As we move into 2021, employers from all verticals are beginning to contemplate a back to work plan. Not only will that transition plan need to keep their employees and customers safe, they need to entice customers to return to face to face engagement.   In addition, businesses need to be able to effectively communicate between remote employees and employees who are able safely engage on site.

LG Technologies offers numerous solutions for endless digital signage needs.   Take a look at the UH5F Series by LG.  The LG UHD Signage offers sizes ranging from 55” to 98” in size.  It has cutting edge technology and its brightness captures an audience.  This solution has versatility and can be used as a meeting room solution or in a retail environment.  It boasts Ultra HD resolution and wide angle viewing with IPS technology.

Many new products have been developed during the course of the recent pandemic.  But what cannot be forgotten is communication with employees and customers.   I would not call it a silver lining but an opportunity instead, in that the pandemic has elevated the digital workplace from a “nice to have” to a “must have” status.   Reach out to your sales rep at ALMO PRO AV so they can work with you and ensure that you have the right technologies to help you deliver the right products to fulfil the needs of your customers.

Corinne Furmanek – O’Rawe, DSCE 
Business Development Manager

[email protected]
888.420.2566 x6220

LG Throws a Curve Ball and Enters the US Projector Market

The projector was once predicted to be something that was headed for the archives as the Digital Signage market took over. Despite the growth and vast variety of digital signage solutions, the projector can provide benefits in particular venues’ that digital signage may not. If you’re of the age bracket I am (which I shall not divulge) just hearing the word “projector’ brings back fond thoughts of family memories of my childhood because other than movie theaters, where else did we see a need for projectors?   OK, we also had those oh so awful “projectors” in the education market, and if we were well behaved we got to watch old movies in class as a reward.  So look how far we have come!  Projectors of all sizes have not only remained a viable solution in numerous venues, but new projectors are providing options for solutions that are new and innovative.

LG Electronics has been in the projection market globally for many years.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working as the ALMO PRO AV Business Development Manager dedicated to LG, and now LG is taking its technology in the US to the next level which is so exciting!

LG Business Solutions USA introduced two new 4K laser projectors designed for the needs of a diverse range of commercial spaces. LG’s expansion into commercial-grade laser projectors provides businesses with professional-level projection solutions that create new opportunities thanks to their incredible brightness, sharpness, color accuracy, 20,000-hour lamp life and state-of-the-art functionality that includes screen mirroring and 12-point keystone adjustment.

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LG Electronics recently launched the LG ProBeam series (BU50N) and the BF50N Series of business projectors. These projectors are designed for portability and value, with Laser lamps offering up to 20,000 hours of lamp life and amazing spec of 5000 ansi lumens.  LG projectors are ideal for the corporate environment and higher education.  They are designed for portability and value, with LED lamps offering up to 20,000 hours of lamp life.  This puts LG in a competitive space with Sony, Epson and Panasonic.  What is even more appealing is that these projectors offer small connectivity through LG’s award winning WEBOS platform. With the release of the BF50N WUXGA Laser Projector, LG provides a non 4K model with WebOS Smart Connectivity. Two flavors to meet your price range.

In my opinion, the most impressive of the models is the LG CineBeam HU85LSLG has provided the perfect projector in this space.  The HU85LS brings a truly cinematic experience with an incredible 8.3 million pixels (3840 x 2160).  The panel can be quickly adjusted in four directions to obtain an effective resolution of 3,840×2,160 (8.3M pixels). It delivers impeccable precision and detail at four times the resolution of Full HD and even images up to 120 inches remain clear and crisp. Enjoy a premium theater experience in your own home.  In addition to the “dream come true” home entertainment system, this product is of most value in the Enterprise, Education, and Entertainment.    It adds a cinematic atmosphere to your space while its slim, stylish design naturally blends into your interior design.

Impressed?  I am! Here at ALMO PRO AV we are looking forward to working with you and answering your questions regarding these great new projector designs from LG.  I personally look forward to providing you more information as your LG Business Development Manager.   Please do not hesitate to contact me!

Corinne Furmanek – O’Rawe, DSCE 
Business Development Manager

[email protected]
888.420.2566 x6220

In the PRO AV Industry Good Things can come in Small Packages

Think of a current successful athlete in the United States.  Chances are you will think of a football player like Patrick Maholms, or a basketball player like Lebron James.  However, beyond the mainstream of sports the population is moving to Esports or Electronic Sports.   Esports are organized sporting competitions for multi-player video games and has become one of the fastest growing “sports” in the world.   Event companies, and colleges, as well as the gambling industry have all taken interest into the popularity of gaming.  The niche audience of “gaming” is gaining more support and growing to become part of the PRO AV ecosystem. Depending on the venue, 20” to 98” displays, touchscreens, 4K models and LFD Monitors are all-inclusive opportunities for sale into a large sporting venue.  Top manufacturers such as LG Electronics offer numerous solutions, which complement the esports arena. 

The average small format display used in the gaming industry is a 1080p 240Hz 24″ monitors. You do not want 1440p for competitive games, and if you are a professional 240Hz makes sense over 144Hz.   In addition, this does not include the need for massive LED displays, to state-of-the-art cameras, switchers, not to mention installation services to ensure proper timing between video and audio sync and much more.   You are also looking at opportunities to implement the latest streaming and IP Technology which is a must have in order to ensure tournament coverage is worthy of the viewing of the followers.  Have your attention yet?  The opportunities within the PRO AV industry are endless….      

Let’s take a moment to focus on Small Format Displays in general….Many retailers are struggling to gain customer in person loyalty and creative positive experiences at the store fronts.  Small format touch displays encourage a way for customers to engage with products and services on a personal level.   In-store Retailers, Fast Casual and Quick Service Restaurants all face similar challenges, and are constantly looking for ways to develop and maintain a relationship with their customers. Small format displays and tablets have proven to be strong tools in driving higher customer interaction, brand satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately leading to sales that are more profitable.  Large venues, stadiums and event spaces are also improving their efficiency by employing these devices to allow patrons to upgrade their upgrade seats as they arrive at the gate, or offer meal suggestions and combos at the concession stand.

These are just a few of the ways corporations can employ small digital displays and tablets to more effectively manage, store, and share information. Reach out to Corinne Furmanek O’Rawe, Business Development Manager for LG Electronics at ALMO. Let us be your go-to to help you with product solutions.

Corinne Furmanek – O’Rawe, DSCE
Business Development Manager

[email protected]
888-420-2566 x6220

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