Sanctum Healthcare • Feb 27 •
My employee has ADHD – How can I help?
Manage an Employee With ADHD in UK
As more people are becoming aware of the volume of diagnosed and undiagnosed cases of ADHD and how vast those diagnoses are, the world is slowly changing to adapt and be more inclusive to those with neurodivergence. One of the areas that can be difficult to navigate is ADHD in the workplace, for both employees and employers. In this article, we will look at how employers can adapt and work with ADHD in the corporate world to utilise their employee’s unique strengths.
It can be extremely challenging for both employers and employees to navigate symptoms of ADHD in the workplace. For the employee, sticking to the corporate policy of working 9 – 5 may be challenging, as ADHD often comes with sleep issues, so early mornings may present a problem for productivity. Whether their business is large or small, having a group of people with differing needs can be difficult to manage for the employer. All this aside, ADHD can most definitely be a superpower brought to the corporate world if managed in the correct way.
Unique skills and advantages employees with ADHD in the workplace can bring
When we think of ADHD, our first thoughts are usually around the negatives and the struggles they will bring alongside. This is understandable but we think more needs to be said about the benefits of ADHD and the attributes it possesses, especially in the corporate world. Let’s look at some of the superpowers employers can harness from employees with ADHD in the workplace.
When the task is aligned with individuals’ interests, this can be a huge advantage to employers. Hyperfocus means that the individual can hunker down and work to deliver high-standard results and benefit the company tenfold. It may incur some accommodations from the employer, but these will be minimal compared to the competitive advantage that the diverse brain of an employee with ADHD in the workplace can bring.
An employee with ADHD can often be overloaded with sensory input which can impact their executive functions such as sorting, filtering, discarding, and prioritising but what this also entails is the ability to see what others can easily miss. A brain without ADHD will naturally filter out what it deems irrelevant, but this can mean that important details are overlooked, which means that a person with ADHD can be a great advantage to their teams.
Possibly one of the most common traits of people with ADHD, is that they tend to be more creative than those without ADHD. The benefits that a creative ADHD brain can bring to the corporate environment is the ability to bring new energy and approaches to projects, giving a possibly tired project, and its teammates, new life.
Quick to start
Often, endless research, resistance to change, and hangs ups on processes and procedures can hold back the progress of a corporate project, however, a person with ADHD can harness their impulsivity and jump right into a task, figuring out roadblocks along the way. This is of great benefit to a team stuck in analysis paralysis and using systems that don’t work but are reluctant to change. This also runs alongside the hyperfocus trait as once the ADHD individual has delved into the detail and if they are passionate about the topic, then their hyperfocus enables them to sprint through tasks.
Calm in emergencies
As so many crises can arise in the workplace, an employee with ADHD can be a calming influence. A recent study found that ADHD brains tend to produce more Theta, which are waves that indicate a deep state of relaxation. These Theta waves can mean that some people with ADHD can remain cool, calm, and collected when their team is striving to hit deadlines.
How employers of people with ADHD can help in a corporate environment
There are many ways to adapt and harness the superpowers your ADHD employees bring to the workplace, approaching with empathy and working together are the main takeaways from this section, to ensure a happy and harmonious environment. It’s also important to remember that not one person’s ADHD is the same, much the same as everyone is unique and different, everyone with ADHD will find their traits unique and different also.
Consider flexible working hours
Mornings can be tough for people with ADHD, as the condition tends to accompany sleep issues, so the typical 9 – 5 days can mean that mornings are the most unproductive time. This often means that their most alert and productive time of day is late at night.
If possible, consider making their day more flexible. If it is that they encounter sleep issues, ask if they would prefer a later start time. Or if they have their sluggish period after lunch and are unable to focus, could it be that they start earlier or have a break during that part of the day and are able to pick work up again later at night when they are energised and best able to concentrate?
Every ADHD brain is different so working together to find the right schedule for the employee and the team can result in a more present and engaged employee who is able to perform at their best.
Harness individual strengths
As mentioned previously, every ADHD brain is different in both symptoms and severity but by working with and paying attention to these individual symptoms, an employer can begin to implement systems to counteract those symptoms.
An employee with difficulty focusing could be offered a quieter place to work, someone struggling with perfectionism could be helped by a more in-depth discussion around the expectations of the project, gently reminding the employee of standards while appreciating their goal for perfection, and an employee struggling with time sensitivity could easily be overcome by assigning certain tasks to specific parts of the day, when that person’s symptoms are at their lowest.
Projects specific to unique strengths
Working with ADHD employees to discover where their difficulties lie and when their most productive part of the day is can benefit everyone and create a more productive, harmonious workplace. In addition to this, assigning tasks that are of interest and that the ADHD individual can become passionate about is a great way to way harness their hyper-focusing ability.
Taking the time to find out your employee’s strengths and assigning tasks that work in tandem with this can mean your employee feels productive, happy, and part of the team, whilst also adding to the productivity of the team and company as a whole.
How Sanctum can help employers harness the power of employees with ADHD in the workplace
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, however, the symptoms and impacts are still not readily understood by employers, meaning that many people with ADHD are still not fully supported in a corporate environment, and so fail to reach their full potential by overcoming functioning challenges and harnessing their unique strengths linked to ADHD.
If you want to take positive steps in becoming a more inclusive employer of neurodivergent people and harnessing the superpowers and extraordinary potential of employees with ADHD, then working with a specialist ADHD clinic and a team of renowned ADHD psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and doctors can help.
At Sanctum, we are dedicated to helping you support the neurodiverse colleagues in your workplace, and we provide tailored support to individuals and organisations including ADHD training events in UK, ADHD workplace assessments & 12 step executive functioning & ADHD coaching.
If you are struggling to navigate neurodivergence within your company, get in touch today and see how Sanctum can help.
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