Health and wellbeing at work

You may be returning to work after caring for a relative or having had a break due to a health condition or disability and need a new job role. You may be looking for a career change or have decided you would like a challenge before you retire. Whatever your circumstances, feeling safe, healthy and supported in the workplace is critical.

Alison Calnan

Meet Alison Calnan

You may be returning to work after caring for a relative or having had a break due to a health condition or disability and need a new job role. You may be looking for a career change or have decided you would like a challenge before you retire. Whatever your circumstances, feeling safe, healthy and supported in the workplace is critical. 

"familiarise yourself with your rights as a worker"

"You can spend a lot of time at your place of work and so it’s important that you are completely happy with your working conditions. I have had a variety of HR management positions within Ford Motor Company so, with this knowledge, I’ve created a list of some of the options that might be available to you as an employee (depending on the company).


As a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, I know how work can affect your personal life and wellbeing, so be sure to familiarise yourself with your rights as a worker. In this article, I’ve outlined some of the most important support you can find, but if you have a particular circumstance that you need support with in the workplace, don’t be afraid to ask your manager because they may be able to help.” 

Reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability or health condition, your employer must make certain changes (known as ‘reasonable adjustments’) to make sure you’re not substantially dis - advantaged. This applies to all workers, including trainees, apprentices, contract workers and business partners.

  • Changing the recruitment process so a candidate can be considered for a job.
  • Changing working hours
  • Making physical changes to a workplace like installing a ramp for wheelchair access or an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person.
  • Changing equipment such as providing a special keyboard for people with arthritis.
  • Phased return to work to support employees who become disabled back into employment, this includes flexible working hours or working part time.

Workplace adaptions

Access to Work can help pay for support you may need because of your disability or long term health condition, they will also work with your employer to advise them how best they can support you. Some of the examples include:

  • Aid and equipment in your workplace Adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
  • Money towards any extra travel costs or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
  • An interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
  • Other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note taker or lip speaker

If you have a mental health condition, you will be offered assistance to develop a support plan. This may include steps to support you going into, remaining in or returning to work and suggestions for reasonable adjustments.

Flexible working

Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, e.g: having flexible start and finish times or working from home. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, not just parents and careers. This is known as ‘making a statutory application’. Employees must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks to be eligible. There are different ways of working flexibly:

  • Job sharing: Two people do one job and split the hours.
  • Working from home
  • Part time: Working less than full-time hours, often by working fewer days).
  • Compressed hours: Working full-time over fewer days
  • Flexitime: The employee chooses when to start and end work within agreed limits (but works ‘core hours’).
  • Annualised Hours: The employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work.
disability confident

Disability confident

The Disability Confident scheme aims to help employers make the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. Employers who have signed up are committed to diversifying their work - force and recruiting people with disabilities and health conditions. A list of employers who have signed up to the scheme can be accessed here: www.gov.uk/government/ publications/disability-confident-employers-that-have-signed-up

Age positive

Age positive

There are more older people in employment than ever before, but many people over 50 are at risk of leaving the workforce early, and not necessarily because they want to. Staying in work and taking control of when and how you retire can give you more money as well as benefit your health and wellbeing.


www.ageuk.org provides guidance about working past 50 and employing older workers. It is aimed at older people who want to get back into, or stay in, work and employ - ers who could benefit by employing older people.


Support organisations

There are many support organisations that can help support you in your journey into employment and provide you with a range of information, from: support for unpaid carers, understanding alternative working methods, disability and health and much more.



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