Reasonable adjustments: examples

This page gives examples of reasonable adjustments which can be put in place to improve the working environment for disabled or neurodivergent people.

The list is not comprehensive, but gives an idea of the types of adjustments that could be made. Which adjustment to make should depend on the individual it is designed to help.

Access To Work funding may be available for some of these measures and there is often a good business case for providing reasonable adjustments.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

A working environment that minimises distractions – for example, in an open-plan office consider noise-reducing partitions, headphones, thoughtful siting of printers and photocopiers and quiet ‘breakout’ areas.

Other adjustments to the environment – for example, lighting, temperature and noise.

Professional assessment of the employee, paid for by the employer.

Specialist training for the member – for example, in developing memory skills (including using visual memory strengths to compensate for difficulties with verbal  working memory).

Training could also cover time management, work planning, understanding personal work styles and developing communication skills. This is especially important if the employee has not previously been aware of their condition, which is common in people with dyslexia.

Options for home-working, at least part-time, to be considered. Appropriate IT and communications support should be provided.

Flexible working hours, enabling earlier or later start and finish times.

Fixed hours, rather than variable shifts may suit some.

Recognising that overworking is a common compensatory strategy for some neurodiverse people that in the longer-term can lead to stress and burn-out. So, for instance, when a neurodiverse condition has been identified or disclosed, appropriate reasonable adjustments should be put in place promptly, even if an employee’s performance is good.

Change of work location – for example, to be nearer home, or nearer support facilities, or to a work location that is quieter or less over-stimulating.

Clear and concise communications, both written and oral. Recorded instructions may be helpful, or ‘easy read’ manuals.

Structured routines, such as project plans, mind maps and flowcharts.

Providing a mentor and/or ‘buddy’.

Individual support where schedules are unavoidably disrupted and when changes are introduced.

It is vital that tests for suitability for appointments, promotion or job changes and so on should be designed not to disadvantage neurodivergent people. For example, tests should not depend on listening to long lists of instructions or reading or writing large amounts of material in a short time.

Interviews for selection or promotion should be appropriately structured, taking account of the inefficiency in working memory that is a characteristic of many neurodiverse people. So questions should be put clearly and succinctly. Also allowance should be made for the sometimes poorly structured replies that can give the impression that an individual is much less competent than is actually the case.

Some neurodivergent people may find it easier to read from pastel coloured paper, with a larger font size, say Arial size 14. Alternatively, a coloured overlay or changing screen colours may help.

Providing clear signage within buildings, enabling navigation or orientation around the workplace.

Regular breaks.

Mechanisms to help with breaks in routine, such as delays in public transport, or a breakdown of computer systems.

Templates to help with reports and so on.

Ergonomic adjustments of workstations.

Relaxation of triggers for disciplinary action for matters such as sickness absence or mistakes arising from  executive function impairment (the abilities that enable people to translate motivation into action).

Additional time off for treatment and/or appointments, as part of a policy for disability leave.

Reallocating some work to colleagues, with the individual’s agreement, at times of stress or change.

A personal workstation (rather than sharing a workstation or ‘hot-desking’) and specific tools to aid work organisation, such as a visual timetable or organiser app.

Appropriate software including speech recognition, such as Dragon Dictate, as well as packages such as Texthelp for reading and writing, and various mind-mapping programs. Specialist advice is available.

Raising awareness among colleagues.