OCD in the Workplace

Request a Callback

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Helping employees with compulsive behaviour patterns face up to and overcome obsession-driven conduct at work.

    A close up of hands gesturing

    Managing behaviour and confronting fears

    Managing OCD in the workplace can be difficult for unsupported employees who have difficulties controlling their behaviour. OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, compels people to follow behavioural patterns which appear illogical to others. Individuals with OCD at work often realise the behaviour is irrational too, but even that admission is not enough to stop it from occurring. 

    In some ways, employees with OCD in the workplace are held hostage by intrusive thoughts and debilitating obsessions. For example, an employee may have contamination fears about their immediate work environment. This prompts compulsive behaviour relating to hygiene such as repeated hand washing, desk cleaning and the avoidance of workplace areas which they perceive to be a threat to health. 

    This behaviour, one of many examples of OCD at work, is not necessarily harmful in itself but time spent on these obsessions means employees can encounter difficulties when required to concentrate on work and meet deadlines. The obsessions can often become all-encompassing and extremely pervasive. 

    The key to limiting the negative effects of OCD is to create support systems and strategies for managing OCD in the workplace. With the correct approach and targeted coaching, employees with OCD can begin to feel comfortable at work again and ready to contribute fully to both personal and overall business objectives.


    Insight into OCD

    Our trainers help employees with OCD confront the facts about the disorder with a view to revealing its true nature.

    Coping Strategies

    Techniques to recognise compulsive thoughts and alter the responses to them, breaking the link with potentially negative behaviour.

    Workplace Adjustments

    Suggestions for straightforward changes to an employee’s immediate work environment to promote better focus and expediency.

    Assistive-Technology Provision

    Recommendations for equipment and software which can help users focus on performing workplace tasks with more precision.


    Initiating Change

    People with OCD behave in a certain way because they feel they have to. If they don’t perform a particular action or course of conduct, however irrational, they believe bad things will happen to them or others. Performing this “ritual” temporarily alleviates the anxiety-burden of the obsession. This behaviour, if left unsupported, often escalates and in worst-case scenarios can completely dominate a person’s life or force someone to retreat to a “safe” space for fear of the dangers associated with the outside world. 

    Helping someone with OCD understand the mechanics of how the disorder manifests, in objective terms, is a great first step to overcoming OCD at work. By depersonalising the behaviour and explaining why it happens, the link between obsession and compulsion is challenged. Further training and support seeks to break these links completely.

    Two women working together


    Increased Staff Awareness

    Informed staff can make better decisions about managing OCD in the workplace and contribute fully to a more inclusive work environment.

    Better Workflows

    Freeing staff from the shackles of compulsive behaviour makes work processes and practices more efficient and cost-effective.

    Improved Work Environment

    Compulsive behaviour affects everyone in the workplace, not just employees with OCD. Tackling it creates a better atmosphere at work.

    Unburdened Employees

    Let employees show their true nature and workplace potential, allowing them to concentrate on work rather than intrusive thoughts.


    Tackling OCD in the workplace shares similar traits with treating other types of neurodiversity. The key is to assess the needs of the individual employee and then tailor support systems which address those requirements. For OCD in particular, more emphasis is placed on coaching which focuses on resolving the difficulties associated with often highly-specific obsessions.
    Focusing on an obsession and then adapting behaviour to mitigate the harmful effects of that obsession is not only time consuming but also mentally draining. This reduces the time available to focus on job demands and makes it harder to concentrate on work tasks. It affects work relationships too – colleagues can be negatively affected by what they perceive as irrational behaviour.
    As with all neurodiversity, declaring it to an employer is a deeply personal choice. There are many factors to consider – the nature of the role and the extent of an individual’s OCD tendencies are just two. If employees believe that their OCD at work is materially affecting their performance then they should let their employer know. It’s the first step to getting the correct support needed to adequately tackle the problem.
    Although assistive technology can help employees with OCD better perform workplace-based tasks, the emphasis on alleviating the negative consequences of OCD at work focuses more on developing support systems and coping strategies.
    Contact a ToHealth advisor on 0800 014 1982, or email admin@tohealth-pam.co.uk