Possible Job Accommodations for People with a Traumatic Brain Injury
It goes without saying that living with a traumatic brain injury can be difficult. Just about everything about your daily routine will change. Tasks that used to be quite simple and could be accomplished without even thinking will suddenly become challenging. Other people around you might not understand what you are going through and wonder why you cannot perform as you once did.
Perhaps nowhere is this most noticeable than at work. Having a traumatic brain injury does not mean you can no longer secure and enjoy gainful employment. It does mean that you might have to alter your expectations and change your approach to your career. If you are an employer who has an employee with a traumatic brain injury, there are certain accommodations that you can consider that cost very little to nothing to implement. Continue reading for some helpful guidance in this area.
Helping TBI Sufferers Concentrate Better at Work
One way to help individuals with a TBI concentrate better at work is to reduce the number of distractions in their immediate work area. Many find that a quiet environment lessens the effects of the injury, thereby allowing them to concentrate better and become more productive. If possible, individuals with a TBI should be given a private office or their own work cubicle that they can seal off from others around them.
Many people with a TBI need to have some sort of white noise around them. This provides them with a soothing and calming effect that they need to concentrate. Employers should make accommodation for such machines whenever possible. The same goes for allowing these employees to play their own soothing music via a portable media player that they bring with them. Some employers have a policy against personal music, but this is one situation where the rules should be bent just a bit.
It would also be helpful for the employer to increase the amount of natural lighting in the workplace. This helps elevate mood, and the same can be said for TBI sufferers and the general workforce at large. This is a move that could increase productivity and efficiency organization-wide. One final way to help increase concentration is to restructure the job so that only the employee is asked to perform only essential tasks that are directly beneficial to the company.
Helping Those with TBI Organize Their Work Life More Effectively
It is also important to help those with TBI organize their daily routine. Many people who have suffered a brain injury find it difficult to prioritize tasks. Employers can help with this by making a daily to-do list that employees can then check off tasks one by one as they are completed. It is also helpful to put calendars in several places so that employees can be reminded of what they need to be doing and by when.
Important deadlines deserve several reminders. Employers can make an accommodation for this by sending out regular email reminders so that the deadline does not creep up on the employee. An electronic organizer is also helpful in this regard. Finally, assigning another employee to help organize some tasks for the employee with a TBI has proven helpful as well.
It is also about working together. There is no reason to let an employee go just because they have suffered a brain injury. Instead, making a few accommodations is the way to go. This will help you maintain a loyal employee and help the organization become more productive in the end.