Accommodations at Work: What Employers can do for Employees with Mental Illness


[MUSIC] So one of the things
that we see that’s really common to ask for
when we look at an employer accommodations, and
these are things that we ask for through
formal employment services, but also that people can
ask for themselves as well. The biggest one I
would say is looking at modifying your work hours. And that doesn’t necessarily
mean working less hours, but working different hours. Coming in later to work,
maybe working at 9:00, working 9:00 to 5:00
instead of 8:00 to 4:00, or working part time
hours in the afternoons or in the mornings only,
working an extra day. Even though it’s a 0.6 position,
working, say, four days a week instead of three days a week. There’s a real wide
variety of things, and those are very
individualized. And once people
can understand what it is they need to be
able to do the job, they can make that negotiation
with the employer saying, this is the job that
needs to be completed, and this is how I think I
can best accomplish that. And most employers
are more worried about getting the job
completed, and so they’re fine with the modification
of the work hours. So that’s kind of a
really big accommodation and most successful The other three
I’ll just touch on are looking at restructuring
a job so that it’s done a little bit differently
in a way that will accommodate someone’s strengths. Modifying the environment
in which that job happens. So it might be looking
at a different space or a different
part of the office where that person does that. A different computer system that
they use, a different telephone that they might use. And then looking at orientation
and training when people first start an employment position,
looking at accommodations with that, allowing
for this being a very novel
situation potentially for this individual, and
being able to be supportive of taking that extra time to do
it or doing the training online instead of in a
classroom setting, or in a classroom setting
instead of online. Whatever works better for
that particular individual. So those are kind of
the big accommodations that I think that people
could quite easily negotiate with employers, and also
that usually provide the most success for
people to gain and maintain their employment. I know that once we worked
with an individual who was an architect, and he
worked in a private firm. And one of the things that they
were very accommodating with was his request to instead
of work on multiple projects at all different stages
was if he could just work on one project
and concentrate on one thing at a time. And that allowed him to be
probably more productive, and I think they
actually may have changed their whole process going
to being far more focused instead of doing
the multitasking. But that was a relatively
simple accommodation that allowed that person
to be quite successful, and still maintain his
employment position and be a valued employee. [MUSIC]

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