Reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent employees

Does anyone have any examples of reasonable adjustments that can be made to support neurodivergent staff, specifically in relation to OCD?  I'm thinking in terms of staff needing constant reassurance on every task that they do.  I am keen to support staff and we've had conversations about not being able to provide the level of reassurance they need but the situation is becoming unmanageable for both staff member and manager.

  • Adjustments that may be reasonable for one organisation may not be for another, so the starting point would be to be clear what the requirements of the role (which can include expected behaviours etc) and ask the employee what adjustments they feel they would need to enable them to carry out the role etc. Ideally you would also seek advice from an OH provider. The business would then need to decide whether those adjustments are reasonable.
  • I agree with Teresa that reasonable adjustments depend on the role, business and individual.
    A couple of suggestions that spring to mind that may help:
    - how regular are check ins between employee and manager? Could they work on having scheduled "reassurance" check ins that become more manageable over time? E.g. perhaps for 2 weeks they have three (morning, noon, end of day), then 2 weeks of morning and noon, then a month of every morning, then reducing to once a week? (Timings would need to be adjusted)
    - how clear are guidelines and would written checks/guidelines support them further to conduct their own reassurance check? Could they have a "quality control" checklist that they can apply themselves?
    - could you set up a temporary buddy system to support them over the next few months?
    - are they accessing support outside of work for their OCD and can they discuss coping mechanisms there?
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 Mar, 2024 11:41


    As well as the good advice you're receiving, you may want to listen to this month's CIPD podcast, which is asked the question, "Is your organisation neuroinclusive?"

    Well worth your time... and there are some links to other CIPD resources on that page, too...


  • Angie,thanks for posting this question and you have some great advice below. I found resources from ACAS, Autism Society and also many other places specialising in supporting neuro diverse colleagues helping to develop understanding and think about what might be options. I'd also agree getting a workplace assessment, occupational health or specialist workplace assessment, if you have not had one already. There are also coaches who specialise in this area and can support managers and individuals. I sourced a few options when I was looking to support a client in this area. Good luck.

  • Hi Angie,

    in my experience there is no blanket rule for any condition in terms of adjustments that will help them unfortunately as each experience is so different.

    In my personal experience with OCD, the most helpful thing is to find out what the employee is struggling with and what worries them - however, that is a very personal conversation and they might not be willing to share that, as often OCD thoughts are not reasonable to someone who doesn't experience it.

    Have you considered training for the manager about OCD? A workplace assessment can help as well, they can often give tailored recommendations too.
    It also depends on whether the employee is in therapy for OCD, and if their therapist can say what would help them.

    Lastly, while some literature sees OCD as a neurodiversity, it isn't necessarily one but a mental health condition and can be considered a disability.

    All the best!
  • In reply to Melanie:

    Thanks everyone - much appreciated.