Making your workplace work for you
Some workers thrive under pressure; others like a steady pace. Some prefer a quiet cubicle; others like a group dynamic. Everyone’s different.
And workers living with depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorders can perform at their best when they work with their employer to create adaptable working conditions.
These workers and their employers may find that some of these steps can provide the support they need. Some steps may be needed only for a short time.
Maintaining stamina during the workday:
- Allow longer or more frequent breaks.
- Provide additional time to learn new responsibilities.
- Provide part time work schedules.
- Reduce distractions in the work area.
- Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting.
- Plan for uninterrupted work time.
Staying organized and meeting deadlines:
- Make daily to-do lists and check items off as they are completed.
- Remind employee of important deadlines.
- Use electronic organizers.
- Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals.
Working effectively with supervisors:
- Provide positive praise and reinforcement.
- Develop written work agreements including the agreed upon accommodations, clear expectations of responsibilities and the consequences of not meeting performance standards.
- Establish written long term and short term goals.
- Develop strategies to deal with problems before they arise.
Handling stress and emotions:
- Refer to counseling and employee assistance programs.
- Provide sensitivity training to employees and supervisors.
- Reinforce peer support.
- Recognize that a change in the office environment may be difficult for a person with a psychiatric disorder.
- Provide flexible scheduling.
- Allow employee to work from home during part of the day or week.
- Allow the employee to make up time missed.
- Allow for time off for counseling.