12 Reasonable Adjustments to Consider for Employees with Mental Health Issues

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Employers are legally required to make “reasonable adjustments” to support employees with a disability under the Equality Act 2010. A mental health problem may or may not be defined as a disability depending on the individual circumstances, but an employer would be encouraged to make reasonable adjustments for employees who might be experiencing mental health issues.

What adjustments need to be made will differ from person to person and depend on their symptoms and should be tailored to accommodate the needs of that individual. Whether or not the adjustments are “reasonable” will depend on the resources of the business but here are some suggestions for the types of adjustment that could be considered.
  1. Providing support to the employee in relation to prioritising workload.
  2. If their anxiety affects their memory, provide clear written instructions.
  3. Increase the frequency of one-to-one meetings.
  4. Offer flexibility in working hours eg starting later to avoid the rush-hour and leaving early.
  5. Consider offering reduced working hours for a period of time eg working half days for a couple of weeks.
  6. Consider splitting the lunch hour into three 20-minute blocks to allow time for more breaks.
  7. Allow more frequent rest breaks, particularly if an employee is on medication that causes drowsiness.
  8. Allow flexibility and/or time off to attend any medical or therapy appointments.
  9. Agree a “signal” that the employee will give to you when they need to take themselves away from the work environment if they become particularly anxious.
  10. Allow a phased return to work following a period of sickness absence.
  11. Consider the possibility of working from home from time to time.
  12. Considering moving the location of the employee’s workstation to a more quiet area if they are in a particularly busy open-plan office and become distracted.
Engage with the employee to ensure the adjustments you are considering will be helpful to them.

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