Requesting equipment & reasonable adjustments at work
Receiving additional support at work can be a daunting thing to request, especially if you are concerned about how your workplace might react to this.
Across the world, laws vary around the kind of support someone can request from their workplace. Something to keep in mind if you are thinking about making the request for yourself, we advise you to double-check your local country's government website, however, we hope to shed some light on how you could go about this.
Speak to your manager or a supervisor that you trust about what kind of adjustments could be made to help make your work environment a positive and manageable one for you. You have to recognise that 'reasonable adjustments' have to be just that, reasonable. In order to understand what this could include its important to recognise what would NOT be considered a reasonable adjustment.
What’s ‘reasonable’ will depend on each situation. The employer needs to consider carefully if the adjustment:
will remove or reduce the disadvantage for the person with the disability
is practical to make
is affordable by the employer or business
could harm the health and safety of others
For example, it would not be reasonable to allow you to only work evenings if your role requires you to work between specific times, like in a call centre that is only open during normal work hours.
It would also not be reasonable to take 3 hour paid lunch breaks, receive expensive equipment from a company with a small turn over and so on.
What is reasonable will differ from company to company and depends on how wealthy the company is, how many employees they have, the nature of the role and more.
I have put together a short list of some reasonable adjustment that could be beneficial for dyspraxics and may be worth taking note of should you feel like asking for them yourself at your place of work.
Email follow up of all verbal tasks given with an overview of what is required for any new tasks.
Allow the employee to make up any time from lateness without discrimination.
Tall backed office chair or back support chair attachment.
Desk to be positioned with a wall behind employee (prevents background noises that affect auditory processing issues)
Ergonomic keyboard and mouse (for joint hypermobility issues)
Short frequent breaks (5 minutes every hour and a half) so you don't get overwhelmed and ability to split lunch break into two shorter breaks if needed.
giving more one-to-one support to help prioritise the work and to support an employee suffering from anxiety
Make yourself familiar with your rights on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
Aca.org.uk states the below:
Examples of reasonable adjustments can include:
providing the right type of phone for an employee who uses a hearing aid
arranging for an interview to be held on the ground floor for a job applicant who uses a wheelchair
replacing a desk chair with one designed for an employee who has a disability affecting their back
giving more one-to-one support to help prioritise the work of an employee suffering from anxiety
a phased return to work for an employee who’s been on long-term sick leave because of their disability
allowing more frequent breaks for someone with diabetes to get the right amount of food or drink throughout the day
giving more time for someone with dyslexia to do any written or reading tests that are part of the interview process
See more examples of reasonable adjustments on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.
In the UK you can request these adjustments by either going directly to your manager/supervisor or HR team. You can also put in a request through access to work on .GOV.UK's website where a telephone or face to face appointment will be scheduled to work out what kind of adjustments or equipment they can recommend. If you have been with an employee for less than 6 weeks then any equipment or staff training required to help with your disability will be 100% funded through access to work. Your employer may need to make the initial order, but you can treasure them that it would be reimbursed (so long as it has been pre-approved) if they show any concern for this and understandably not all workplaces have a turn over to support this. If you have been there longer than 6 weeks then access to work will offer a grant to pay toward the cost of equipment, your employer will have to cover the rest. As these are recommendations your employer can choose not to take on the recommendations, however, it would be within their best interest to do so.
It's worth noting that access to work will also provide disability awareness training for your colleagues. This is to help combat discrimination in the workplace to ensure you have a safe and happy work environment. This can be provided for free regardless of how long you have been with an employer. https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/what-youll-get
These adjustments are very similar to what you can expect in most countries, the below links will provide some country-specific details:
Your local government's website should provide this information if you search "reasonable adjustments at work" or "disability equality and discrimination laws"