Helping everyone thrive at work

Neurodiversity affects around 1 in 7 people. It refers to alternative ways of thinking, behaving and processing information. It includes conditions such as dyslexia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neurodiversity supports the view that these conditions aren’t things that need to be fixed, but are instead normal variations on a spectrum. In fact, a neurodiverse workforce can offer exciting opportunities for radically different thinking and fresh ideas.

Traditional working practices are designed for ‘neurotypical’ people who aren’t neurodivergent. This can make it difficult for neurodiverse employees to thrive at work, and for the business to make the most of their talents.

Neurodivergent employees often bring unique skills and talents to their work and can be particularly good at:
• problem-solving
• logical thinking
• creativity
• innovation
• consistency
• thinking outside of the box
• retaining information
• data analysis
• seeing things from a different perspective
• spotting patterns and trends
• attention to detail
• taking risks
• pushing boundaries

How can you support neurodiverse individuals to thrive at work?

Get to know the individual
• Don’t make assumptions about their condition(s) and create stereotypes
• Learn more about them so you can support their characteristics, strengths and challenges

Provide technology and equipment
• Some things you can invest in to support neurodivergent employees at work are:
– Speech to text or text to speech equipment
– Dictation tools
– A daily planner
– Dual screens

Communicate clearly
• Try to use direct language and say exactly what you mean
• Ask specific questions
• Avoid using jargon
• Allow time for processing information
• Provide communications in a range of formats
• Check-in regularly

Assign work tasks appropriately
• Think about the types and routines of tasks
• Think about the length of time needed to complete a task
• Monitor workload
• Consider recording meetings to avoid the need for notes

Consider the physical environment
• Some traditional office environments can be over-stimulating or overwhelming for neurodiverse employees
• The journey to the office may cause anxiety
• Consider investing in
– Adjustable lighting
– Personal working spaces
– Hybrid working patterns

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