Responding to requests
As an employer, you should work together with your employee to agree reasonable adjustments for mental health.
Everyone's experience of mental health is different, and mental health can fluctuate over time. This means that identifying, agreeing and monitoring reasonable adjustments can take time. It also relies on you and your employees talking openly so that everyone's needs can be met.
Preparing for a meeting to discuss reasonable adjustments for mental health
Many people find it hard to talk openly about mental health, especially when they are under pressure.
It can be helpful for you to:
- look through any organisation policies relating to mental health, absence and reasonable adjustments – the policies should make it clear what is expected of you and your employee
- think carefully about how confident you feel talking about mental health at work – you might find it useful to learn more about supporting someone with their mental health at work
- put yourself in your employee's position and think about what is going on for them and what they might need to support their mental health at work
What to think about before responding to a request for reasonable adjustments
You should take time to prepare for a conversation with someone about reasonable adjustments.
It's normal for people who are experiencing mental health problems to be unsure about what they need to manage their mental health. Many people might not feel ready to decide what adjustments to suggest. This is why it's helpful to take a flexible approach, regularly monitoring and reviewing what works, and what does not.
There are several things you can think about which could help with deciding what reasonable adjustments will be possible.
Look through the examples of reasonable adjustments
- what might be possible given the employee's job
- what might the impact of these adjustments be on their ability to do the job to a satisfactory level
- what might the impact of these adjustments be to the rest of the team
- could any risks to performance or others in the team be minimised
Get advice from an occupational health professional
An occupational health professional can give you advice on what adjustments might be suitable.
Have a conversation and agree a plan with your employee
You should meet with your employee to discuss reasonable adjustments and agree a plan.
Before the meeting you should:
- agree a time and place for the meeting
- share any policies that are relevant to reasonable adjustments for mental health
- explain to them the meeting is to help find a solution that will help them to stay well at work
- explain to them that some things might be possible and some things might not be possible but you're willing to support them access adjustments that are reasonable
Some people with mental health conditions find it difficult to concentrate or remember things. It can sometimes be helpful for employees to bring a trusted person to take notes on the conversation for them to refer back to after the meeting.
The meeting might include:
- checking in on how they are
- explaining what the organisation policy is on reasonable adjustments for mental health
- asking them what reasonable adjustments they would like to explore and why they think these will be helpful to them
- discussing how the reasonable adjustments could work in practice
- suggesting any reasonable adjustments you think might be appropriate
- agreeing the reasonable adjustments to try
- agreeing a plan to review and monitor the reasonable adjustments
- sharing what ongoing support is available
After the meeting
After the meeting you should confirm the agreed reasonable adjustments in writing.
You can use our template letter to confirm agreed reasonable adjustments.
Trial and monitor the reasonable adjustments
It's useful to monitor reasonable adjustments once they're in place.
You might sometimes find that reasonable adjustments:
- take time to work well as new routines are established
- need to be adapted to work effectively for everyone
- do not resolve the initial problem and need to be reviewed
Monitor the reasonable adjustments using the approach agreed during the meeting and keep a record of any changes made over time.
You can also use the template for reviewing and monitoring reasonable adjustments for mental health.
Put in place ongoing support and a process to review the reasonable adjustments
Mental health problems can last for a few weeks, months or longer-term. It's important that reasonable adjustments are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
You might find it useful to arrange follow-up meetings to discuss how the work adjustments are working. These meetings might be weekly, monthly or less frequently depending on the situation.
Before the meeting it can be helpful to:
- agree with your employee when and where the meeting will take place
- how you and your employee will know if the reasonable adjustment is working or not
- agree what to do next if the reasonable adjustment is not working
Get more advice and support
If you need more advice or support, you can: