This page describes best practice. It does not explain the law
5. Make suitable workplace adjustments or modifications
As an employer, you should provide the same opportunities for everyone who works for you, including disabled workers and those with long-term health conditions. We will refer to both as 'workers' in this guidance.
Opportunities can include access to recruitment, work conditions, job retention and development.
Talk to your workers about workplace modifications or adjustments (including reasonable adjustments). This can allow them to perform at their best by removing barriers that are:
You have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that services are accessible to disabled people as well as everybody else. If you don't, a worker may be able to make a claim in an Employment Tribunal. There is information on how to comply with the law.
Talk to workers about adjustments
Workplace adjustments or modifications can help make the workplace safe and comfortable for a worker. These can also help address barriers that stop workers performing at their best.
Talk to your worker and agree what adjustments or modifications would help them thrive in the workplace. Make sure any adjustments are effective and sustainable. This may involve different workplace adjustments for workers with similar impairments.
Choosing the right adjustments
Provide timely responses to requests for workplace adjustments. For example acknowledge them within two weeks.
Often, it costs less to put workplace adjustments in place than to recruit and train a new member of staff. Many common workplace adjustments are not expensive. For example, you can adopt:
- alternative work patterns
- assistive software
- phased return to work
- communication formats
There is more guidance on deciding on changes to help employees stay in, or come back to work in the government service Support with employee health and disability (GOV.UK).
Depending on how long a modification could take, consider interim arrangements. For example, consider disability leave or temporary redeployment into a different role.
How a CEO funded simple adjustments to get the best from a worker
A worker in a tech firm has anxiety. He finds it difficult to predict when he will feel anxious, though he gets particularly anxious on public transport. The tech firm had deliberately worked on creating a supportive workplace, and the worker felt confident approaching management to discuss his condition and its impact on how he does his job.
The company's CEO stepped in to make some adjustments. The worker can now work from home and the number of meetings he must attend has been cut to reduce the need for travel. When he does need to attend the company pays for a taxi.
The cost of taxis is met, in part, by trading it off against not having to pay for office space. The worker also gets a grant for transport from the Access to Work scheme.
Provide additional advice
Make sure you provide access to suitable advice for workers whose individual situations are complex. For example, you could use the Access to Work scheme and occupational health services.
Reasonable adjustments passports
Record agreed workplace modifications or adjustments in a 'passport'. This can help when workers move jobs or change line managers. Passports can avoid you duplicating work and make sure adjustments are maintained.
Talk to other workers
You can explain someone's workplace modifications or adjustments with their consent. This can help other workers understand the reasons for adjustments. This will mean they can support colleagues where appropriate.
Review workplace modifications
When the work activity or workplace changes, review any workplace modifications. A worker may tell you their circumstances have changed. If so, review modifications to make sure they are still fit for purpose.