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Linked: Making workplaces better for people struggling with mental health will make work better for everyone

The headline is an important statement because the first thing that pops into some manager’s minds is that being flexible for someone dealing with a mental health issue “isn’t fair to everyone”, then maybe that shouldn’t be the way we look at this at all. How about looking at it like this instead?

Accommodations that help people with mental illness can also address the full range of factors that complicate and disrupt people’s lives and affect their work—that is, just about everyone. This “curb-cut effect” was named after the unexpected benefits that arose from those indentations in sidewalks (curb cuts). Originally aimed at expanding wheelchair access to sidewalks, they turned out to have many beneficiaries—from parents pushing baby strollers to tourists pulling rolling suitcases. Similarly, greater workplace flexibility and support can benefit vast numbers of workers and their employers.

The reality is if you allow people to be flexible and get their work done in the way that makes the most sense for them, individually, they will all benefit from that decision. There won’t be a fairness issue because of some accommodation because everyone is getting the accommodation they need to do their best work.

What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what management says they want?


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