Made Tech Blog

Reasonable adjustments: for an inclusive workplace

A big part of making sure the workplace works for everyone, whether remote, in person or hybrid is offering reasonable adjustments. In this post we’re going to share what they are, why they’re important and what you can ask for as both an interviewee and a fully-fledged team member. 

What are reasonable adjustments? 

Reasonable adjustments are the changes an employer makes to remove or reduce barriers in the workplace. These adjustments are made so people living with disabilities or physical or mental health conditions can do their job well, and are not at a disadvantage compared to their teammates. 

There’s no timeline on adjustments. They can be made at any time during your interaction with a company – right from your first interview through to the end of your employment and at any point in between. 

Reasonable adjustments can include many different things which we’ll dive into a bit later, but common examples include things like changing your working hours or sending emails and documents in accessible formats. 

What is ‘reasonable’ depends on each person and their situation. So it’s important that anyone making a request is involved throughout the entire process. To make sure any changes you request are reasonable, employers will consider if the adjustment:

  • will remove or reduce the disadvantage you’re facing
  • is practical and affordable
  • could potentially harm the health and safety of others

While sometimes a requested adjustment may not meet this criteria, employers should always try and find other ways and alternative adjustments to support you. 

Adjustments you can ask for

One of the biggest challenges we see when it comes to reasonable adjustments is that people aren’t often sure what they can ask for. Here’s a starting point to understand some of the most typical adjustments. We’ve split them into 3 main themes that can support you in different ways.

Adjustments to improve the environment and company procedures can include:

  • taking frequent work breaks
  • doing part of your work from home
  • reviewing job responsibilities and matching to your strengths
  • having a flexible schedule
  • making spatial changes in the office, like layout or seating arrangements
  • changing the noise levels in the office, like wearing headphones
  • changing the intensity of the lighting
  • having access to a private office or dedicated space
  • equipment like ergonomic chairs, sit-stand desks, foot-stools and ergonomic mouses
  • flexible travel support for different types of transport

Adjustments can also include tools and technology, common examples are: 

  • text-to-speech software
  • speech-to-text software
  • visualisation and mind-mapping software, like Miro
  • specialist spell and grammar checkers, like Grammarly and Hemmingway
  • dual screen or reading stands
  • software to support organisation and time management
  • changing the font or size of reading materials
  • coloured overlays or printing reading materials out on coloured paper
  • whiteboard, pin board and coloured post-it notes
  • specialist training on using technological adjustments

And finally, adjustments can also mean your employer provides specialist coaching in different skills and abilities such as:

  • memory
  • organisation
  • time management
  • literacy and numeracy
  • communication
  • wellbeing

It’s important to make clear this isn’t an exhaustive list and there’s plenty more adjustments that you can ask for. Not every organisation will be able to provide everything we’ve listed above, but as we mentioned earlier, if there’s something an employer deems ‘unreasonable’ they should always find other ways they can support you. 

Changes we’re making at Made Tech

In the past we’ve hosted lunch and learn sessions around reasonable adjustments for the team, bringing in external speakers, Adjust. This helped us with follow-up ‘train the trainer’ sessions, where we could run knowledge sharing for our line managers and help educate the wider team. 

Last year, we also introduced a reasonable adjustment passport process. As part of this, reasonable adjustments passports can be used to record which adjustments have been agreed with a teammate. This avoids the traditional need to re-negotiate and repeatedly discuss reasonable adjustments every time a team member is assigned to a new project, role or has a new line manager. 

We know there’s always more to be done. In typical Made Tech-style, the learning is never complete and we’re keen to continue iterating this process. We’re still learning and we know there’s always room for improvement. 

It’s also useful to know

There’s lots of great information out there around reasonable adjustments that can help you understand your rights and where your employer can support you. If you’re looking for some more guidance, GOV.UK has information for workers with disabilities or health conditions seeking adjustments and Scope gives a great overview of what the process looks like. 

If you want to read more about reasonable adjustments in general, Access to Work and the Neurodiversity in Work Report 2023 are full of wonderful information for both employees and employers.

Reasonable adjustments are an effective and important way we can make sure everyone can do their best work. As an employer, making changes to policies, working practices, physical layouts and providing extra equipment or support when needed makes sure your workplace is an inclusive one. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to get in touch with your own advice, links or examples of where you’ve seen great work happening. 

If you want to read more about what we’re up to at Made Tech outside of our day-to-day projects, take a look at our Life at Made Tech blog posts.

About the Author

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Oli Monks

Lead Talent Acquisition & Mobility at Made Tech