Sanctum Healthcare • Oct 25 •
Should I disclose my ADHD at work?
If you have ADHD, the workplace can bring its own set of unique challenges. For people with ADHD, work can often feel demanding and overwhelming. The specific symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult for people to carry out their required tasks and duties, which can be frustrating and demoralising.
It might also be that you’re worried about whether to disclose your ADHD at work. Many people avoid disclosing their condition at work due to embarrassment and fear: they worry they won’t be understood and the stigma attached to the condition seems too great.
This can mean that ADHD is always in the background of every working day, with you having to work hard to mask all the symptoms.
At Sanctum, we work with patients with ADHD to help them overcome their challenges and harness their unique ADHD strengths, helping them to reach their full potential at work. Here is our advice on how to disclose your ADHD at work.
ADHD symptoms in the workplace
Firstly, let’s look at some of the ways that ADHD symptoms can affect people at work.
Struggling with organisation at work is a common problem. For people with ADHD, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by tasks, and they may have a number of unfinished tasks on the go simultaneously without any sense of priorities, deadlines or time required to complete the task.
People with ADHD can have difficulty with estimating how long it takes to get a task completed. This often leads to late delivery of tasks and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Being late for work is also a common trait of people with ADHD, due to not being able to get out of the house on time.
People with ADHD find that they can struggle to concentrate on what others are saying, which can make them appear rude or lazy. This can make it hard to form connections with colleagues or bosses, and may also lead to poor performance measures being put in place.
Many people with ADHD find that the difficulties they experience due to their condition can lead to a lack of confidence when they are within a work environment. It’s common for patients to feel frustrated with themselves, discouraged, and even that they want to leave their jobs.
Daydreaming is a common trait in people with ADHD. Whilst daydreaming, time passes and the person will end up being late unintentionally.
People with ADHD are prone to being distracted, and this is especially the case if a task is boring, repetitive, or doesn’t hold their interest. Many office tasks- such as filing or admin- can seem boring, and it’s easy to become distracted. It’s common for patients with ADHD to start a task but quickly get distracted by something more interesting.
How disclosing your ADHD at work can help
The specific symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult for people to carry out their required tasks and duties, which can feel even harder if your employer isn’t aware of your ADHD, or doesn’t understand the nuances of the condition.
Luckily, many employers are now putting steps in place to be supportive of ADHD in their workplace by facilitating inclusive environments, open conversations, and effective, tailored support.
By disclosing your ADHD to your employer, it takes the pressure off you to mask your symptoms at work. It will also help your employer and colleagues to understand why you may approach tasks and conversations in a slightly different way. Openness can lead to understanding, and the likelihood is that you will feel more comfortable and relaxed at work as a result of disclosing your ADHD.
Employers are starting to understand that with support, understanding and some small changes to capitalise on their strengths, employees with ADHD are likely to be a great asset to their organisation. Many people with ADHD are noted for strengths such as:
• Ability to ‘hyperfocus’ on things they are interested in
• Willingness to take risks
• Spontaneous and flexible
• Good in a crisis
• Creative ideas – thinking outside the box
• Relentless energy
• Often optimistic
• Being motivated by short term deadlines – working in sprints rather than marathons
Telling your employer about your ADHD: next steps
- Take your time. If you have only recently been diagnosed with ADHD, you might not be ready to tell your employer just yet. Take the time you need for you to get your head around your diagnosis yourself. Don’t put yourself under any pressure and give yourself the space to come to terms with what it means for you before deciding to disclose your ADHD at work.
2. If you are hesitant about speaking to your employer, then take some advice from an ADHD specialist first. This might be in the form of a support group, or perhaps a specialist ADHD clinic such as Sanctum.
There are many companies, charities and resources that can advise you, such as: `
3. Seek out other people who understand what you’re going through and share your experiences. Local ADHD support groups, Facebook groups, or online forums, are a great way to meet others with ADHD who may have disclosed their ADHD at work, or are considering doing so. Chatting to others in the same position as you makes telling your employer about your ADHD much less daunting.
Specialist ADHD Clinic
At Sanctum, we are experienced in helping people with ADHD overcome the obstacles they face at work. We are a specialist ADHD clinic who can support you in learning how to speak about your ADHD with strength and clarity, in both your personal life and in the workplace.
Our team of renowned psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and doctors are dedicated to helping you overcome the challenges of ADHD in the workplace. We also work with employers to help them understand how best to support employees and colleagues with ADHD.
If you would like to speak to Sanctum’s friendly team about how we can help, you can get in touch here.
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