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Accommodation Ideas for Workers with Mental Health Impairments

These ideas, via resource books from http://osmihelp.org/ which credit https://askjan.org/ are framed as helping mental illness. They are almost all good ideas for everybody.

Accommodation Ideas:

Concentration:

  • Reduce distractions in the work area:
  • Provide space enclosures, sound absorption panels, or a private office
  • Allow for use of white noise or environmental sound machines
  • Allow the employee to listen to soothing music
  • Provide a noise cancelling headset
  • Plan for uninterrupted work time
  • Purchase organizers to reduce clutter
  • Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting
  • Allow flexible work environment:
    • Flexible scheduling
    • Modified break schedule
    • Work from home/Flexi-place
  • Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
  • Use auditory or written cues as appropriate
  • Restructure job to include only essential functions
  • Provide memory aids such as schedulers, organizers, and / or apps

Memory:

  • Provide written as well as verbal instructions
  • Provide written checklists
  • Use a wall calendar
  • Use a daily or weekly task list
  • Provide verbal prompts and reminders
  • Use electronic organizers, hand held devices, and /or apps
  • Allow the employee to record meetings and trainings
  • Provide printed minutes of meetings and trainings
  • Allow additional training time for new duties
  • Provide a mentor for daily guidance
  • Provide reminders of important deadlines via e-mails, memos, and weekly supervision
  • Use notebooks, planners, or sticky notes to record information for easy retrieval
  • Provide cues to assist in location of items by using labels, color coding, or bulletin boards
  • Post written instructions for use of equipment

Organization

  • Use daily, weekly, and monthly task lists
  • Use calendar with automated reminders to highlight meetings and deadlines
  • Use electronic organizers, mobile devices, and / or apps
  • Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
  • Use a color coding scheme to prioritize tasks
  • Hire a job coach or a professional organizer
  • Assign a mentor to assist employee

Time Management / Completing Tasks:

  • Make daily TO-DO lists and check items off as they are completed
  • Provide organizational tools such as electronic schedulers, recorders, software organizers, calendars, watches, and apps
  • Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and steps
  • Schedule weekly meetings with supervisor, manager, or mentor to determine if goals are being met
  • Remind employee of important deadlines
  • Assign a mentor to assist with determining goals, providing daily guidelines, reminding of important deadlines
  • Consider providing training on time management

Stress / Emotions:

  • Encourage use of stress management techniques to deal with frustration
  • Allow the presence of a support animal
  • Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for needed support
  • Use a mentor or supervisor to alert the employee when his/her behavior is becoming unprofessional or inappropriate
  • Assign a supervisor, manager, or mentor to answer the employee’s questions
  • Restructure job to include only essential functions during times of stress
  • Refer to counseling, employee assistance programs (EAP)
  • Provide backup coverage for when the employee needs to take breaks
  • Allow flexible work environment:
    • Flexible scheduling
    • Modified break schedule
    • Leave for counseling
    • Work from home/Flexi-place

Panic Attacks:

  • Allow the employee to take a break and go to a place wheres/he feels comfortable to use relaxation techniques or contact a support person
  • Identify and remove environmental triggers such as particular smells or noises
  • Allow the presence of a support animal

Sleep Disturbances:

  • Allow for a flexible start time
  • Combine regularly scheduled short breaks into one longer break
  • Provide a place for the employee to sleep during break
  • Allow the employee to work one consistent schedule
  • Provide a device such as a Doze Alert or other alarms to keep the employee alert
  • Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting

Fatigue:

  • Allow flexible work environment:
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Modified break schedule
  • Work from home/Flexi-place
  • Provide a goal-oriented workload
  • Reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress
  • Implement ergonomic workstation design

Attendance:

  • Allow flexible work environment:
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Modified break schedule
  • Leave for counseling
  • Work from home/Flexi-place
  • Provide straight shift or permanent schedule
  • Allow the employee to make up the time missed
  • Modify attendance policy. Example: count one occurrence for all PTSD-related absences

Coworker Interaction:

  • Encourage the employee to walk away from frustrating situations and confrontations
  • Allow the employee to work from home part-time
  • Provide partitions or closed doors to allow for privacy
  • Provide disability awareness training to coworkers and supervisors
Searched words: 
mental health working effectively

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