Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is classified to be in the category of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders in DSM 5. It is characterized by thoughts and images that are inappropriate and intrusive but persistent, or in other cases, urges that are experienced voluntarily (obsessions) but are not pleasurable. Following these obsessions are ritualistic acts, or behavior that is repeated due to fear or anxiety. These acts are called compulsions.
This persistent pattern of thoughts followed by behavior is so disturbing that it interferes with the daily functioning of the person having them. Their social life gets affected; their professional life gets dysfunctional, and their cognitive abilities deteriorate.
People with obsessive compulsive disorder withdraw from the social world. They have difficulty maintaining social relations due to the anxiety and preoccupations with obsessions and urge to perform compulsions.
This is where they face major setbacks and problems. Due to the continuous though processes related to obsessions, people with OCD cannot focus much on work. They can’t pay exclusive attention to anything for longer periods. Due to compulsions of performing rituals to satisfy their mind or to lessen the anxiety, they spend significant amount of work hours doing that. They are more prone to make errors as well. These errors may even pose safety risk for coworkers or the employers. In case a person with OCD is assigned with a job that is time sensitive, they will not be able to perform it or do justice to it due to their need to perform compulsions upon having intrusive thoughts. Those applying for new jobs of such nature and having severe OCD at the same time are unlikely to get the job anyway.
The workplace will also need to accommodate the work environment and situations for an employee with OCD. Anxiety provoking or stimuli that cause such obsessions to occur would need to be eliminated. This may include noise, smoking, or situations that are stressful in their nature anyway.
For example, a project that is of high priority and demands constant and strict attention may stimulate obsessive behavior. They employers may even need to provide a flexible working schedule or allow relaxation in the schedule to leave room for medical appointments and sessions to be accommodated. The working hours or activities may even need to be re-evaluated according to the suitability of the employ in extreme cases so that they can have time to take breaks and or work in suitable intervals.
OCD adversely affects the cognitive abilities of the individual as well. The persistent obsessions followed by compulsions affect their way of thinking, solving problems, and taking decisions. They may even take time or have difficulty in understanding situations or issues.