Five adjustments that help me succeed at work

10 April 2024

Small, cost-free workplace adjustments can make an enormous difference to staff with invisible disabilities, with a flow-on effect for everyone in the business. Ainsley Ryan shares some of the adjustments she has requested and implemented at work to ensure she can thrive in the workplace.

Hi there, I’m Ainsley and two years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

It’s a lifelong degenerative disease with no known cause or cure. 33,000 Australians live with MS. It’s scary and at times uncertain, but with a good medical team and a little extra support, I get to thrive in the workplace.

As a person with an invisible disability, I can get around most places without much fuss. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to show up by advocating for myself and others.

In the name of visible invisibility, I thought it may be useful to share some of the adjustments I’ve requested and implemented within my workplace.


1. Working hours

I’m a morning person, my brain is fresher and the mornings are quieter. Having the flexibility to start work earlier makes me more productive and less fatigued.

It’s a win-win for all.

2. Seasonal desks

Did you know that most people with MS have trouble with the heat and cold? Having the space and opportunity to move to a desk away from the windows on a hot summer day helps mitigate nerve pain and fatigue.

3. Meeting times

Is that 4pm meeting time critical or would it be better to bring forward when we’re fresher and can take immediate action?

Brain fog doesn’t benefit anyone.

4. Pause breaks

Back to back zoom calls? Yuck! Could five minutes of fresh air between meetings and tasks help with fatigue and work output?

Fresh air leads to fresh thinking.

5. Time blocking

Planning my workday around when my brain is switched on for deeper thinking, for collaboration, or for creativity allows me to get the most benefit for the business and team.


Employers can get concerned about the cost and energy required when they see these sorts of lists. Yet, in my own experience, these changes have no cost outlay and little to no impact on the way the business functions. Some even have flow-on benefits to others in the team, because honestly, who is fully switched on in a 4pm meeting?

The key thing is that these adjustments add immense cumulative benefits to my workday and they have also started meaningful conversations and raised awareness, which is my ultimate goal.

So my challenge to you is: what adjustments can you make to your workplace or environment? Could they benefit others in your team?


Ainsley Ryan is the Content and Communications Manager for the Built Environment Channel and a good friend of the ACA. This article was originally published on LinkedIN and has been republished with permission.