Reasonable adjustments at work

Many people with a mental illness have a legal right to ask an employer for changes to be made to their jobs and workplaces. These changes ensure that, as long as you have the rights skills for it, there are no barriers to you being able to apply for or carry out a job. This guide is designed to help you talk to your employer about your own needs in the workplace.

Changes of this kind are called ‘reasonable adjustments’. Employers must provide reasonable adjustments to people who are eligible, including people with a mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression. Identifying the right changes at work for you will reduce the impact of your health condition on your ability to work, and ensure you are getting the right support. This should also include planning ahead to agree arrangements in case you become unwell. Your support should be reviewed regularly.

Often the adjustments people might need are easy to implement and don't cost anything. These can include:

  • Culture of openness about mental health in the workplace
  • Flexible working hours to allow for appointments with your GP or therapist
  • Quiet areas in the office to allow staff to hot desk during periods of stress
  • Offering employees a Wellness and Recovery Action Plan.

Depending on the type of organisation, the employer may have policies in place about how support should be offered. The opportunity to discuss this might be a regular one to one meetings where you discuss your performance and support needs. It’s best to see what opportunities there are already in place so that you can make the most of these. Your manager or Human Resources department may raise the subject of ‘adjustments’ proactively when you first start.

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