The Great Big Workplace Adjustments Survey, sponsored and supported by Microlink, is Business Disability Forum’s study of the experience of disabled employees, managers, and senior leaders of requesting, making, and reviewing adjustments for disabled employees. It was previously run in 2019.
The survey is one of the most comprehensive pieces of research ever conducted into the workplace experiences of disabled people and people with long term conditions in the UK.
It looks at the process, the experience, and the impact adjustments have on disabled employees enjoying their job and feeling included at work. It also explores how far managers feel they have been equipped to ‘do’ disability inclusion and make adjustments and makes some recommendations for employers.
Nearly 1,500 disabled employees and 400 managers responded to our 2023 survey and the findings were published in June.
You can download the full and summary reports at the bottom of this page.
- 78 per cent of disabled employees told us they, rather than their employer, had to initiate the process of getting adjustments.
- 58 per cent of employees said getting the adjustments they needed was due to how assertive and confident they are to ask for that support.
- 56 per cent of disabled employees said there are still disability related barriers in the workplace after adjustments have been made.
- Only 37 per cent of disabled employees feel their employer is genuine about removing all disability-related barriers and making the workplace inclusive for disabled employees.
- Only 18 per cent of disabled employees said their adjustments have removed all barriers in the workplace.
- 10 per cent of disabled employees said it was easy to get the adjustments they needed.
- The speed of getting adjustments has improved by 4 per cent since 2019. But 1 in 8 disabled employees are waiting over a year to get the adjustments they need.
Disabled people are still waiting too long for the adjustments they need to reduce or remove the barriers they experience in their jobs. Employees are also having to push for adjustments or even fund them themselves. Adjustments include flexibility over hours and location, time off for medical appointments, as well as ergonomic equipment and assistive technology.
Disabled people are also facing a number of other disability related barriers at work, which go beyond adjustments to their individual roles. These include bullying and harassment, limited career and development opportunities, inaccessibility of programs and initiatives intended to support wellbeing, and wider inaccessibility of buildings and systems.
Managers feel more confident talking about disability than they did previously and play a key role in the adjustments process. But multiple internal processes and limited powers to make changes in the wider organisation create additional barriers and leave managers feeling frustrated.
For both disabled employees and managers, the COVID-19 pandemic had and continues to have a significant negative impact on workplace experiences.
Recommendations for employers
We are calling for employers to:
- Simplify their workplace adjustments process.
- Provide more support for managers and the role they play in workplace inclusion.
- Develop a wider workplace approach to understanding the experience of having a disability and to removing disability-related barriers beyond focusing on workplace adjustments.
If you require either of these reports in an alternative format email email@example.com.