Working From Home With Autism: Top Tips

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability associated with differences in the brain, such as genetic conditions. Individuals diagnosed with ASD may act in different ways compared to people who do not have it. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about this disability and help autistic persons deal with aspects of their daily life, including the ones who have a remote job.

Why might autistic people struggle to work from home?

According to scientific research, people with ASD may find difficulties in working from home. The challenges of remote work are connected to the inability of creating social bonds, having helpful social contacts, dealing with electronic devices, limited opportunities to learn from others and participate in knowledge exchange sessions, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Some participants of the study reported the need to have someone to support them in order to prevent social isolation. Thus, this limitation may lead to fewer developmental opportunities for employees. Moreover, working from home may involve difficulties in conducting effective training due to several reasons such as Internet connection problems, individuals who prefer learning from face-to-face meetings and workshops, and the lack of in-person feedback which may lead to improper work habits. As stated in a research paper, autistic individuals may also display Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder characteristics which may affect their way to prioritise tasks, affecting their work-life balance. These results highlight the need of people with ASD to have a customised work design when they are supposed to work from home. Researchers also emphasised the importance of developing an autism-inclusive digitised remote work design.

Top tips for working from home with autism

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Remote work is rapidly becoming a standard and widely embraced practice in various industries. Therefore, it is significant to acknowledge the expectations of being able to work from home and consider the needs of individuals with ASD.

Stick to your usual work routine

Some of the general tips that are efficient at the work environment may be also effective when working from home. For example, setting formal work hours and having a regular routine may help you increase your productivity if you work remotely. You can try planning your work, showing your availability, rewarding yourself for your efforts, taking regular breaks, and staying off social media to avoid getting distracted. Moreover, you can have a to-do list that you update every morning, so you can keep track of what you have to do on a daily basis.

Keep in contact with colleagues online

If you are working remotely and feeling alone, we recommend you consider video conferences and keeping in contact with your colleagues each day through text messages. It is a noteworthy technique to help you avoid being lonely. You do not have to talk only about work issues or updates, you can try to start conversations about several things, such as finding out what you have in common. When speaking with your colleagues online, do not forget to also have fun and stay relaxed. Having regular meetings with the team while working from home can make employees feel included and valued.

Plan your work for the day ahead

Being organised and planning your work for the day ahead may help you do your remote job better. You can use to-do lists so they can help you keep track of what you have to do throughout the workday. Consider including priorities, tasks, and deadlines. When starting the day, you can focus on the priorities, and you can set goals and time limits for each task. Additionally, you can take advantage of calendars and planners. For example, deadlines, appointments, and meetings can all be written down in calendars. Planners could be used to keep track of projects, tasks and other activities.

Separate your working space from your living space

According to an Internet article, having a space dedicated for work is the first step in your “work from home” journey. Depending on the room you decide to work in, keep in mind that having a desk for your computer and office supplies may make your job easier. Some important things you need to consider when creating your working space are: it should be a quiet room, you should have a comfortable chair, it should be clean and organised, and it should allow you to not get distracted by other devices such as TV or other digital distractions.

Ask for work meetings to be planned in advance

If you think it helps you to know the work meetings in advance, then ask your manager for this. Do not be shy and be clear about what you want. People understand that working remotely may require some things to be planned in advance, so it is better to let them know about this aspect. Discuss with your supervisor about workload management and do not be afraid to ask for help. When you have your duties organised, it will help you be productive, stay focused and succeed in what you want to achieve.

Have set times to check emails and messages

Another important aspect that you should consider when you work from home is to not forget about checking your emails and messages. If you struggle with this, then do not panic. There are several time management applications which may help you keep track of what you need. You can also set alarms on your phone to remind you about checking important messages from time to time. If you do this, then you will not miss anything relevant and you will be able to prioritise your duties easily.

Take regular breaks throughout the day

Some people consider that when they have a remote job, the most important thing is to stay productive. Even though this is true, it is also important to take regular breaks throughout the day. For example, if you focus too much on tasks and forget to take breaks, it may be possible for you to feel tired and find it difficult to maintain your productivity. Moreover, research studies have demonstrated that taking regular short breaks may increase your productivity and creativity levels. Therefore, consider taking a few minutes to allow your brain to refresh in order to finish your tasks.

Speak to your line manager if you have any concerns

In every job you have, you should always discuss with your line manager about your concerns. Do not try to solve things on your own as it is easier when you get a helping hand. Your manager’s work experience may play a considerable role when solving your struggles. As previously mentioned, do not be shy and afraid to ask for help. We are all individuals who sometimes need someone to discuss with and get a second opinion. On the other hand, your colleagues may represent another good option when you encounter difficulties.

Image by BiancaVanDijk, Pixabay

This article provided top tips for individuals with ASD who are working from home. If you know someone with ASD who is struggling with working remotely, we encourage you to give them a helping hand and share this article. Only by raising awareness, important steps could be taken in order to create a more inclusive world.

If you think you may have traits of autism, take our free autism test online to find out if you have neurodiverse traits.

Useful links

Autism workplace needs assessment

Blog Author

Oana Gherasim