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Much progress has been made in recent years in terms of increasing awareness of neurodiversity, but we still have a long way to go. There is still a lot more to be done in terms of making society more inclusive and supportive of the neurodivergent, but a great place to start is the workplace. Here, the Occupational Healthcare experts at YourGP provide some valuable advice on how to ensure your working environment is welcoming to all.
Why inclusion is so important
For far too long, many neurodivergent individuals have been prevented from reaching their full potential in the workplace because of the multiple hurdles placed in their way. By breaking down these barriers, not only can we enable them to lead more fulfilled working lives, but we can all benefit from the talent, skills, and expertise they will bring to the table.
Educate your team
First and foremost, ensure your team fully understands the concept of neurodiversity. Put simply, neurodiversity is the concept that all humans vary in terms of our neurocognitive ability – our ability to focus, learn, and socialise, for example. Neurodivergent conditions typically include ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, OCD, and Tourette syndrome. People with such conditions may struggle with certain tasks and situations in comparison to ‘neurotypical’ individuals, but they may excel in other areas.
Start at the beginning
For those looking to take action to open up their business to include more neurodivergent individuals, it is important to start at the beginning – the recruitment process. Think about your current hiring habits – do you request that people send a CV and make a judgement based on their spelling and grammar? During the interview, are you looking for confident eye contact and a strong handshake? Do you usually throw in a couple of tricky questions to get them to think on their feet and see how they respond under pressure? Each of these factors has the potential to cause stress and anxiety to neurodivergent individuals, lowering their chances of being hired, when in fact they may be more than capable of doing the job itself.
Be willing to make accommodations
Making your working environment more welcoming to those with a neurodivergent condition could be something as simple as providing a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or creating a quiet area for someone with autism who may be more sensitive to sound for example. Similarly, someone with ADHD may find it hard to sit at a desk for more than an hour at a time, but by giving them the freedom to go for a walk around the office and take their laptop elsewhere to work could make all the difference.
Relaxed and open communication is key so keep in regular contact with all employees and ask for ideas on how their working experience could be improved. Be open to constructive feedback and strive to see things from their point of view.
Showing others what a neurodiverse workplace you are and how much you benefit from the talents that neurodivergent people can add to the mix sets an example to others and sends a message that inclusion should be the norm.
Find out more
If you would like to discuss further ways you can support your employees and create a more inclusive workplace for all, get in touch with YourGP’s team of Occupational Health specialists on 0131 225 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment.
Dr Myskow was friendly and understanding. I felt I was listened to and that I was given a thorough check over before deciding on any treatment. I wasn’t rushed at all which was nice.