Making reasonable adjustments at work
Employees with a diagnosed mental health condition may need some changes to their workload, schedule, or the working environment in order that they may remain at work and be productive.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, employers are required to make changes to the workplace to enable someone with a mental health condition to remain at or return to work on the proviso that they can continue to meet the core requirements of their role.
So, what is considered reasonable?
In essence, reasonable adjustments are ones that do not involve large expense or major changes to the fundamental tasks of a workplace role.
Some examples of common reasonable adjustments employers might make include the following:
- Identifying and changing tasks that the employee may initially find overwhelming or stressful. This might include managing others, direct customer contact, or any form of public speaking.
- Working with the employee to establish goals, prompts, checklists, and reminders to help the employee with time management and to stay on top of their workload.
- Offering flexible working hours to enable your employee to keep appointments with their treating health practitioners or work around the effects of medication they are taking.
- Altering shifts or worksite location temporarily.
- Ensuring that your employee does not return to work after an absence to a backlog of work or emails that will seem overwhelming.
The best way to determine optimal reasonable adjustments for your employee is to have an open and honest conversation with them. Ask how the work environment can best support them in their recovery and their return to normal duties.
By doing this you will ensure the best outcome possible for both your employee and your business.