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As with all neurodivergent people, those with ADHD can bring a wealth of benefits to a workplace. They can often be creative thinkers, coming up with innovative, imaginative, and outside-the-box ideas which can have a hugely positive impact on an organisation. Many also have a fantastic ability to hyper-focus on a task-in-hand, which can have a genuinely motivating effect on their colleagues, creating a more productive working environment for all.
ADHD, of course, also comes with its challenges. And it is important to understand that the symptoms and challenges faced by one person with ADHD may not necessarily be the same as another person with ADHD. Plus, these symptoms and challenges can change and develop over time.
Here, the Occupational Healthcare experts at YourGP discuss what these key challenges are, and how employers everywhere can help to minimise their impact, so those with ADHD can make valuable contributions and enjoy a fulfilling career.
8 typical challenges of ADHD and how to minimise their impact
1. Difficulty concentrating: Offer your employee the opportunity to take short breaks throughout the day to ensure they stay freshly focused and on-track. In practical terms, this may mean they shorten their lunch break or extend their office hours to allow for these extra break times.
2. Getting easily distracted: Allow your employee to switch off their emails or switch on their voicemail if they have a specific task they wish to focus on. Ensure their colleagues know not to disturb them. Ask if they would prefer to work somewhere quieter, away from colleagues, entrances or the staff room. And allow them to wear headphones if they wish to block out surrounding sounds and instead listen to classical music or something soothing.
3. Procrastinating: Empower your employee to shape their own day. Don’t overload with too many tasks all at once, instead allow them to choose which task they wish to complete first and ensure they only tackle one at a time. Be clear about what the deadline is. It might also help to team them up with someone else on occasion to help with motivation.
4. Feeling tired: Living with ADHD can be exhausting at times, so be open to the possibility of remote working. This way your employee can benefit from a more relaxed start to the day by avoiding a stressful commute, for example.
5. Hyperactivity: If your employee needs to move to deal with excess energy, invest in a rise-and-fall desk that can be adjusted in height so they can stand and move in the spot whilst working. Another option is to allow them to take video calls on the move – enjoying a walk outdoors, for example.
6. Impulsivity and outbursts: By creating a routine which allows for regular catch ups it will open the lines of communication – enabling you to give regular, constructive feedback and enabling your employee to discuss any potential triggers before they become a problem. Enabling them to practice relaxation and meditation techniques as part of their daily working day can also help.
7. Poor memory: Provide reminders of important deadlines and regular reviews of projects and priorities. A wall planner highlighting meeting times and deadlines can be a great visual reminder. And encourage note-taking in meetings, timetables and mindmaps.
8. Time management difficulties: Break large projects into small steps and set a realistic timeline for when each section should be completed. There are lots of apps and computer features such as calendars, alerts and alarms which can help keep your employee on track.
Find out more
The key is to embracing ADHD in the workplace is to have frequent and open communication so you can make adequate reasonable adjustments, tailored to the individual’s needs.
If you would like help pinpointing or implementing any reasonable adjustments in the workplace, speak to the Occupational Healthcare team at YourGP by calling 0131 225 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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