Examples of Reasonable Adjustments

A PDF version of this guidance is available - Guidance - Examples of Reasonable Adjustments

1. Introduction

This guide aims to complement the Considering Adjustments guidance by giving further ideas and examples of common adjustments. This guide is however non-exhaustive and should not replace good dialogue around what may be appropriate on an individual basis. This guide may be useful to both line managers and other colleagues when considering adjustments.

This guide lists overview examples of typical examples before breaking down examples of adjustments for specific conditions, all aligned to Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) guidance.

 

2. Overview of Typical Examples

Making adjustments to premises

Example: Making structural or other physical changes such as widening a doorway or adding automatic doors, providing a ramp, handrails or moving furniture for a wheelchair user; relocates light switches, door handles, or shelves for someone who has difficulty in reaching; or provides appropriate contrast in decor to help the safe mobility of a visually impaired person.

Altering hours of working or training

Example: Allowing a disabled person to work flexible hours to enable them to have additional breaks to overcome fatigue arising from their disability. It could also include permitting part-time working, or different working hours to avoid the need to travel in the rush hour if this is a problem related to their condition. A phased return to work with a gradual build-up of hours might also be appropriate in some circumstances.

Changing the working environment

Example: Allowing a disabled person to work from home or another remote location, particularly aligned to the university’s broader hybrid working framework where this is suitable for the role. This may be combined with other complementary adjustments (e.g. flexibility over working hours).

Allocating some of the disabled colleague’s duties to another worker

Example: Reallocating minor or subsidiary duties to another colleague where a disabled individual has difficulty doing them because of their disability. For example, the job involves occasionally going onto the open roof of a building, so this task is transferred away from a person whose disability involves severe vertigo.

Assigning the individual to a different place of work or training

Example: Relocating the workstation of a newly disabled worker (who now uses a wheelchair) from an inaccessible third floor office to an accessible one on the ground floor. It may also be reasonable to move the individual’s place of work to other premises completely if the first building is inaccessible and the other premises are not.

Providing a reader or interpreter

Example: Arranging for a colleague to read hard copy post to a co-worker with a visual impairment at particular times during the working day.  Full time readers or interpreters could be paid for through Access to Work.

Giving, or arranging for, training or mentoring (not necessarily for the disabled colleague)

Example 1: All staff are trained in the use of a particular machine but slightly different or longer training is provided for an employee with restricted hand or arm movements, or training in additional software is provided for a visually impaired person so that they can use a computer with speech output.

Example 2: Providing training for colleagues on conducting meetings in a way that enables a Deaf staff member to participate effectively.

Example 3: A disabled person returns to work after a six-month period of absence due to a stroke. It may be possible to link them with a work mentor and allow reasonable time to see the mentor and to help with any loss of confidence following the onset of their disability.

Modifying instructions or reference manuals

Example: The format of instructions and manuals might need to be modified for some disabled colleagues (such as being produced in Braille or on audio CD) and/or instructions for disabled colleagues might need to be conveyed orally with individual demonstration or in Easy Read.

Providing supervision or other support

Example: Arranging help from a colleague, in appropriate circumstances, for someone whose disability leads to uncertainty or lack of confidence.

Employing a support worker to assist a disabled worker

Example: An adviser with a visual impairment is occasionally required to make home visits to clients. The employer employs a support worker to assist them on these visits.  Full time support workers could be paid for through Access to Work.

It may sometimes be necessary to take a combination of steps

Example: A woman who is blind is given a new job with her employer in an unfamiliar part of the building.

The employer: 

  • Arranges facilities for her assistance dog in the new area
  • Arranges for her new instructions to be in Braille, and
  • Provides disability equality training to all staff.

In some situations, a reasonable adjustment will not work without the co-operation of other colleagues. They may therefore have an important role in helping make sure that a reasonable adjustment is carried out in practice and line managers will have responsibility to ensure that this happens.

Example: An employer makes sure that a worker with autism has a structured working day as a reasonable adjustment. As part of the reasonable adjustment, it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure that other workers co-operate with this arrangement. This example would however require the permission of the individual to share a degree of personal information with colleagues (to help them to provide support).

2. Reasonable Adjustments for Specific Conditions

Disabled colleagues will have different experiences and may face different barriers in the workplace depending on their disability.

Some potential adjustments are common across a number of health conditions such as considering flexible working options and regular breaks, as many conditions can cause significant physical and mental fatigue. Others may be more specific to particular disabilities or health conditions.

The following suggestions are not intended to be an exhaustive list but serve to offer a different view/angle for those considering adjustments. Specific considerations are listed under broad categories but are not necessarily exclusive. 

Neurodivergent conditions (e.g. Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia)

It is unlikely that an individual will experience all of the challenges below; rather these are various presentations across different neurodivergent conditions and the adjustments that may be helpful. This also takes into account the fact that symptoms and challenges can often vary over time and from person to person, depending on a range of factors.

Reading

  • Giving verbal as well as written instructions
  • Highlighting important points in documents (e.g. bold or bulletpoints)
  • Supply screen-reading software or a Reading Pen
  • Printing resources on coloured paper or changing background colours of computer screens and/or presentations
  • Avoid very lengthy paragraphs in emails or other communications

Reading & Writing 

  • Allow plenty of time to read and complete a task – this applies in interviews/assessment centres too
  • Discuss the material with the employee, giving summaries and/or key points
  • Present information in other formats e.g. audio or video, drawings, diagrams and flowcharts
  • Give flexibility in how information is presented/communicated, as long as it meets business needs
  • Utilise tools such as mind-mapping software, digital recorders or ‘speech to text’ software
  • Ask someone else to take the minutes of meetings
  • Write down important information or encourage the individual to take notes if they are able
  • Write a memo/email outlining a plan of action
  • Offer the option of a colleague to review documents or a proof-reader for more -important documents

Computer work 

  • Change background colour of screen to suit individual preference
  • Supply an anti-glare screen filter
  • Allow frequent breaks, at least every hour
  • Alternate computer work with other tasks, where possible
  • Avoid continuous all day computer work

 Verbal communication 

  • Giving clear verbal instructions one at a time, at a pace that works for the individual and without distractions
  • Provide instructions in writing if this is helpful
  • Be clear with instructions and communication; avoid ambiguity
  • Avoid subtlety in language (inc sarcasm)
  • Provide digital recordings of presentations/training
  • Check understanding

 Concentration 

  • Make sure there is a quiet space available away from distractions such as doors, busy phones, or loud machinery.
  • Allocate a private workspace, if possible
  • Allow an employee to work from home for particular tasks, if appropriate
  • Allow the use of a “do not disturb” sign when tasks require intense concentration
  • If interrupting, allow the person to pause and write down what they are doing to refer to when resuming work
  • Allow multi-tasking
  • Allow use of headphones to listen to music or similar, if possible within the role

 

Appointments and deadlines 

  • Support the individual to capture/record key deadlines (e.g. in calendars) and review progress against these through routine catchups
  • Hold meetings to review progress/support as appropriate, without micromanaging
  • Encourage the individual to use the daily calendar and alarm features on their computer or work phone.
  • Use a ‘To do’ list or similar app

 

 Organising workflow 

  • Use and share diaries
  • Write a layout for regular tasks with appropriate prompts for example for meetings or taking notes

 

Group Work 

  • Be clear about the groups work aims and outcomes (i.e. have a clear structure)
  • Allocate members to certain tasks and be clear about what the task entails
  • Allow incomplete thoughts/provide time for people to think whilst they are talking
  • Ask (and note) communication preferences
  • Hand out slides/meeting notes/agendas in advance
  • For online work, permit cameras to be switched off for comfort

 

Miscellaneous 

  • Give clear and explicit instructions (written if helpful to the individual). Be careful not to reprimand for not following unwritten rules.
  • Provide questions or discussion points in advance.

Sensory Impairments

  • Provide suitable assistive software – assessment and training may be required
  • Provide presentations in advance of meetings to allow someone with a visual impairment sufficient time to review it using any assistive software they have
  • Adjustments to lighting in meetings or interviews, such as being able to sit facing towards or away from a window
  • Adjust lighting e.g. remove fluorescent lights, add window blind
  • Group activities adjusted so that they can showcase their skills and talents– such as in interview/assessment centre environments
  • Adjustments to work area to allow a working/assistance dog at work
  • A person who is partially sighted may need any interview material printed for them in a larger font, or provided in electronic format so they can use software to magnify it
  • A person who is hearing impaired/Deaf may need a sign language interpreter during meetings or interviews or for the room to be arranged so they can more easily lip read
  • Captioning for meetings (live or AI assisted)
  • Arrange for a visual or vibrating alarm for emergency situations such as fire evacuation
  • Use of microphones for speakers in large group meetings – having a loud voice is not enough
  • Providing a larger than usual screen for someone with a visual impairment.
  • Allocate a private workspace, if possible, where the environment could be more controlled, will be helpful for supporting a person with sensory impairments
  • Flexible shifts can make travel to and from work easier for people with sensory impairments and minimise their stress. Explore options for working from home for appropriate tasks
  • Provide a hearing induction loop in an area
  • Provide relevant awareness training for team members, and those that work closely with a person with sensory impairments, to ensure they are aware of how best to communicate with their colleague
  • Provide training for all colleagues on how to make any documents they produce digitally accessible, so that any assistive software used by the staff member works correctly
  • Provide training for the staff member on any new/updated assistive software
  • Providing the right type of phone for an employee who uses a hearing aid

Physical Impairments:

Physical Impairments:

  • Arranging for an interview to be held on the ground floor (or that there are lift facilities) for a job applicant who uses a wheelchair or has a limited mobility or an energy-limiting condition.
  • Changes to physical working environment such as adding ramps, hand rails, stairlift, automatic doors
  • Offering assistive equipment/technology such as accessible keyboard and mouse or speech-recognition speech to text software and arrange any training required
  • Arrange for use of a University Mobility Scooter when on campus
  • Arrange for a DSE assessment to identify whether chair, desk, keyboard and mouse are suitable or require replacement
  • Replacing a desk chair or chair with one specially designed for a disability – such a back pain
  • Facilitating the adoption of non-standard seating/working positions if appropriate to an individuals needs
  • Supplying a height adjustable desk/workstation or adaptive office furniture
  • Allowing more frequent breaks to combat fatigue caused by a physical condition or disability
  • Allowing a phased return to work for an employee who’s been on long-term sick leave because of their disability
  • Risk assessing work activities including emergency evacuation if the employee’s mobility is affected
  • Consider longer term adjustments to the employee's immediate work area for example adjustments to the height, angle and position of workstations
  • Scheduling online meetings if beneficial for those with energy-limiting conditions, or limited mobility

Other long Term Health Conditions (e.g. Diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, arthritis, cancer, high blood pressure):

  • Allowing a phased return to work if they have been off for a long period of time
  • Allowing more frequent breaks for someone with diabetes to get the right amount of food or drink throughout the day
  • Fluctuating conditions such as arthritis may require considering the length of time that work requires them to remain in one position, standing, walking distances required etc. These may change over time for the individual
  • Cooling collars to help with pain management
  • Supplying a height adjustable desk/workstation
  • Consider longer term adjustments to the employee's immediate work area for example adjustments to the height, angle and position of workstations
  • Risk assessing work activities including emergency evacuation if the employee’s mobility is affected
  • DSE assessment will identify whether chair, desk, keyboard and mouse are suitable or require replacement (however some conditions may require non-standard working setups)
  • Consider other support i.e. voice activated software, hands free telephone headset.
  • Look at changing work patterns/hours - fluctuating health and stamina levels may affect them more if they do shift work or full-time hours
  • Offer quiet spaces for an individual to sit/lie down to recharge
  • Provide relevant awareness training for team members, and those that work closely with the staff member. Make sure staff know what to do in the event of an ‘episode’ such an asthma attack or hypo
  • Ask staff to avoid spraying aerosol deodorant or wearing strong-smelling aftershave or perfume if someone has asthma
  • Staff with diabetes may have diabetes-related complications, such a eye conditions, and may need a range of reasonable adjustments in relation to these
  • Keeping a ‘hypo box’ containing diabetic hypo treatments
  • Adjust performance targets temporarily so they remain realistic for your employee

Mental Health:

  • Allowing a phased return to work to support an individual back into work if they have been off for a long period of time.
  • Allowing ‘time outs’ away from work for someone who has anxiety
  • Agreeing alternative start and finish times - someone with a mental health condition may find it difficult to wake up early in the morning, due to side effects of medication
  • Provide extra support managing workloads and priorities, on either an ongoing basis, or just when they need it. It may be helpful for them to focus on fewer, manageable pieces of work for a short period
  • Explore how noise levels affect the staff member – a noisy, busy workplace can be difficult to cope with for some. For others, lack of contact with others and too much quiet can be unhelpful. Look at options to install or remove barriers.
  • Exploring options for working from home where appropriate.
  • Provide relevant awareness training for team members and/or those that work closely with the staff member. Attitudes of colleagues can undermine adjustments which would otherwise be effective.
  • Arranging for a support worker for a short time to help rebuild certain skills can help regain confidence.