Supervisor and Worker Perspectives on Workplace Accommodation for Mental Health

Feb 28, 2018

Supervisor Accommodation for Mental HealthSupervisors of workers with mental health disorders play a key role in the prevention of prolonged work absences. Providing appropriate workplace accommodation is one approach supervisors use to facilitate an employee staying at work or returning to work early. People with mental health disorders function well in the workplace when they are provided with appropriate work accommodations that take into account social, organizational, and interpersonal issues when developing and providing accommodations1.

The purpose of this study is twofold to understand what factors determine whether workplace accommodations are supported and received from the perspective of supervisors and workers:

  1. To determine the association between supervisor characteristics, organizational/job factors, and worker characteristics from the supervisor perspective and supervisors' decisions to support and facilitate workplace accommodations for workers with mental health disorders.
  2. To determine the association between supervisor characteristics, organizational/job factors, and worker characteristics from the perspective of workers with mental health disorders and the provision of workplace accommodations.

The information for this study is gathered through cross-sectional surveys distributed to supervisors and workers from randomly selected businesses from across Northern Ontario and Manitoba. Companies who agreed to participate received two separate surveys: one to all supervisors and one to all workers.

The supervisors have completed a web-based survey including a case vignette of a worker with a mental health disorder and a number of scales assessing levels of accommodation and factors that may affect their decisions to provide workplace accommodations. The study will identify factors influencing supervisors' decisions to accommodate workers with mental health disorders.

The workers have completed a web-based survey indicating whether or not they suffer from a mental health disorder. For those that do, researchers will determine which accommodations they were offered and which they would have preferred to be offered through the Work Accommodation and Natural Support Scale (WANSS)2.

With the conclusion of the surveys in April, the research team is beginning analysis to assess workplace, supervisor, and worker factors through additional scales on the survey. This will identify factors that may influence the accommodations workers with a mental health disorder receive and factors which may influence the accommodations they may prefer to receive.

Results from this study will further our understanding of how supervisors can facilitate a stay at work or return to work for workers with mental health disorders. It will also help us understand factors that may influence which accommodations workers with mental health disorders most often receive. Once complete WSPS will disseminate study results, keep checking this page for more updates from this study.


Reference:

  1. Schultz IZ, Rogers ES. (2001). Work accommodation and retention in mental health. New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.
  2. Corbière M, Lecomte T, Lesage A, Villotti P, Bond GR, Goldner EM. Work accommodations and natural supports for maintaining employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 2014:37(2):90-8.