Mental Health – Reasonable Adjustments

22nd June 2023

Despite the fact that ACAS published their guidance aimed at helping employers and employees to understand workplace adjustments for mental health at the end of April 2023 this year, I have discovered that this is still not well known.  It is for this reason that I have chosen to highlight it again in case anyone has missed it.

Many of my employer clients are sympathetic to those suffering from mental health issues and/or who are neurodiverse, but they are at a loss as to what to offer to help by way of reasonable adjustments.  Also when acting on the other side of the fence for employees, a common response from employers has been to ask the individual what they think might be something that could help them – often this adds to the stress or anxiety that may have already been present.

The ACAS guidance does not re-invent the wheel and some of the explanations given are relatively obvious.  However it is the examples of reasonable adjustments which I consider to be useful not least because some of these are not the ones that you might immediately suggest such as allowing someone to work altered hours, travel in after rush hour or sit in a more peaceful spot.  The examples drill down a little more than that, for example breaking down the work into short term tasks, reviewing deadlines and reducing customer facing work.  Of course it is always important not to jump to a one size fits all situation and to still involve the employee, but as with putting all the onus on an at risk employee to find their own alternative position, you should not do the same for an already vulnerable employee!  Furthermore and very important in this hybrid working environment, adjustments should be made wherever the employee works.

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