How to Support Employees with ADHD at Work

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Employees with ADHD can face many challenges at work. Find out how ADHD affects people at work and how you can support them. You can also learn about the practical methods of supporting employees with ADHD at work.

 How does ADHD affect people at work?

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ADHD can affect people at work by causing them to find it difficult to perform their required tasks and duties. They may also struggle to complete their work efficiently or have problems getting along with their managers and colleagues. People with ADHD can have poor attendance and be persistently late for work. They can find learning new material challenging and have poor appraisals or evaluation.

People with ADHD can find it hard to keep on top of office organisation. They may also avoid or delay getting started on a task or feel easily overwhelmed.

Filing and administration tasks can seem tedious or boring for people with ADHD. A person with ADHD may begin one of these tasks, but they may become distracted and move on to a more interesting task.

A person with ADHD may have several unfinished tasks on the go at the same time without any sense of priorities, deadlines or time required.

How do I support my employees with ADHD?

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Employers can support their employees with ADHD at work by creating a suitable office environment, setting up flexible scheduling, ensuring opportunities to give feedback, focusing on their strengths, and communicating instructions effectively. Employers can also find out about the employee’s ADHD and show understanding and a reasonable degree of flexibility in relation to their difficulties.

Creating a suitable office environment for employees with ADHD

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A suitable working environment for employees with ADHD can include the following:

  • Visual prompts, such as wall charts for routines, checklists, and sticky notes for reminders.
  • Physical reminders, such as laying out everything needed for the end of the current day and the next day, and labelled places for storing tools.
  • Larger screens so that everything is visible and reduces burden on memory.
  • Visible clocks and encouraging the use of alarms and timers.
  • Reducing distractions, such as allowing the use of headphones with music or ambient noise, or ear plugs.
  • Providing the employee with their own working space, if possible, with a reduced level of distraction.
  • Ensuring the employee has a comfortable chair to sit on, or a standing desk to reduce their need to fidget.
  • Setting up stations for different tasks.
  • Reducing clutter, such as placing papers on a shelf out of immediate view.
  • Staying active whilst working, such as using a desk bicycle or exercise bands attached to the chair.

Setting up flexible scheduling for employees with ADHD

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Lateness is a frequent problem for employees with ADHD. They can find mornings at work especially tough due to sleep issues. Some may find that they are more productive or alert late at night.

Employers should work with employees to set a schedule that works for them and their ADHD symptoms. Employees with ADHD tend to feel more sluggish first thing in the morning or just after lunch and find it better to concentrate at other times. Individuals with ADHD have a deficit in their ability to control their attention, so their ability to work at different times of the day can fluctuate.

Employees with ADHD may also find it easier to work flexible hours rather than a 9 – 5 day.

Ensuring opportunities for employees with ADHD to give feedback

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As well as employers giving feedback to employees with ADHD, employees with ADHD should also give feedback to employers. Both sides can give feedback on what is working for them and what is not. Employees with ADHD will feel that their employee is listening to them, and the employee will be able to ensure that management is going smoothly.

Other ways employers can give employees with ADHD opportunities to provide feedback include asking them if there is anything they are struggling with, and if there is anything employers can do to better support their employees. Also, always be sure to motivate your employees with appreciation gifts that will be great for increasing employee engagement in the workplace and make sure to know their birthday to give them a personal birthday gift .

Focusing on the strengths of employees with ADHD

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Research shows that employees with ADHD can be more curious, creative, imaginative, innovative, and inventive than their non-ADHD counterparts. They also tend to think outside the box with an approach that their colleagues and employers can highly value in the workplace. ADHD symptoms can work for employees when they learn more about them and have proper treatment.

Employees with ADHD display other strengths such as hyper-focusing on tasks that they are highly interested in, being good in crises, noticing small details that non-ADHD employees miss, and starting tasks quickly. They can also find unique solutions to difficult problems, derive patterns where others see chaos, and can discuss many topics at the same time.

Communicating instructions effectively to employees with ADHD

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One effective way to communicate instructions to employees with ADHD is to give them in writing. The instructions can consist of a task list and employees with ADHD can refer to them in case they often forget what they hear.

Written instructions are more effective than verbal instructions for employees with ADHD. They can also ask their employers to send them instructions by e-mail or write them down by themselves. Employees can write down any assignments their employer gives them, or the employer can hand out assignments in the form of printed sheets.

If you have ADHD, you might be entitled to workplace needs assessments that could help you at work. If you think you have traits of ADHD, take our free ADHD test to find out if you have neurodivergent traits.

Blog Author

April Slocombe