According to the findings of a recent survey, a fifth of workers with mental health conditions have had to wait for over a year for their employers to put workplace adjustments into operation.

The findings emerged from a study by the employer-led Business Disability Forum entitled The Great Big Workplace Adjustments Survey 2019, which asked employees, managers and senior leaders in UK workforces to share their views.

While 50 per cent of those who took part in the survey had waited less than three months for adjustments to be put in place, another 20 per cent had waited between three and six months. Even more worryingly almost three in ten workers had waited more than six months for the adjustments to be put in place  and ten per cent of those had waited for more than two years.

Furthermore it was found that of the 29 per cent of individuals who had not requested adjustments, just over a fifth did not do so because they were worried that their employer or their colleagues might treat them differently as a result.

In addition, the study found that:

  • Just under a fifth of those responding to the survey  reported that the adjustments made had helped to remove all barriers at work
  • Almost three quarters felt that the adjustments had made a positive difference to removing some of the barriers they faced at work
  • Although 44 per cent said they had all the adjustments they needed, 27 per cent had requested other adjustments that had not yet been put in place
  • Just over two fifths agreed strongly that they were happy with the adjustments that had been put into place, but almost a fifth were not.

Almost 1300 people responded to the survey which was shared online with membership organisations of the Business Disability Forum, its partners and stakeholders. The survey link was open from mid-March to mid-April 2019 to UK-based employees (including the self-employed) and managers.

Neil Todd, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: "It is estimated that mental health problems cost employers nearly £26 billion each year. This includes the costs of sickness absence, reduced productivity and increased sta turnover. Improving employee mental health and well-being will improve sta retention and productivity. As a result, investing in employee wellbeing services, making adjustments to assist workers and encouraging employees to be able to raise mental health issues without fear of discrimination or being stigmatised is very much in the interests of both employees and employers.

"The findings of this survey does however demonstrate there is more to be done by employers to address this issue, given the length of time many have waited for adjustments to be made and the fact some workers remain reluctant to ask for adjustments to assist them in the first place for fear of how they will be perceived."

To read the survey in full, go to the business disability forum website