Managers play an important role in providing access to reasonable adjustments for mental health.
Managers are often concerned about having conversations about reasonable adjustments for mental health. For example, a manager might:
- want to do the right thing but do not know what to do or say
- find it difficult to understand how a mental health condition affects someone
- find it difficult as employees do not always say what they need
- be unsure what is 'reasonable' – sometimes employees can expect too much, or do not ask for enough help
As a manager, it's important that you know how to support someone to access reasonable adjustments for mental health.
How to support someone to access the support they need
To support employees with reasonable adjustments requests, you should:
- check in with them – for example, ask how they are and if they need help
- recognise changes in their behaviour
- try to understand how their mental health impacts them
- understand that adjustments might not work the first time, and might need to change over time
- be flexible in your approach and respond to changing needs
- show ongoing support – mental health fluctuates over time and adjustments might need to be in place for days, weeks, months or sometimes years
- consider the needs of the employee and the team in case anything needs to change
- know when to ask for help from others, such as other senior leaders or someone from HR or occupational health
Having a conversation about reasonable adjustments for mental health
Conversations about reasonable adjustments for mental health might come about because:
- you notice that someone in your team is struggling with their mental health
- someone in your team asks to have a conversation about work adjustments for mental health
- someone in your team has spoken to HR or occupational health who have recommended reasonable adjustments for mental health
You can help the person requesting reasonable adjustments look after their mental health at work and understand what to expect from a meeting to discuss reasonable adjustments requests.
For example, you could:
- ask them how they are
- make it clear they should look after themselves and focus on managing their mental health
- check if they have accessed support available through work – for example mental health support
- let them know about any policies that are relevant to reasonable adjustments for mental health
- let them know that the organisation will try to support them in accessing reasonable adjustments
- explain the reasonable adjustments process and procedures
- agree on a reasonable adjustment meeting date
If you're responsible for leading the conversation, you should follow advice from your employer.
Following the conversation
Reasonable adjustments might not work straight away. Allow some time for changes to take place.
As a manager, you should:
- monitor how the adjustments are impacting the employee, others they work with and work priorities
- review the reasonable adjustments as agreed
- arrange regular check-ins with your employee