Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD etc are natural forms of different brain wiring (neurodivergence). The strengths of neurodivergent workers such as problem-solving, deep focus, analytical insight and spatial thinking, place them in valuable roles in our organisations. Alongside these strengths, neurodiverse people find elements of the work environment challenging. Often, they use coping strategies to help them carry out their work. Now the vaccine program is making a return to office environments possible, what does this mean for neurodivergent people? How can you support your neurodiverse colleagues with change?
Change can disrupt the coping strategies that enable neurodivergent workers, to do the things that many of us take for granted. These strategies are typically built up over a period of time and are very specific to their job and environment. In a time of change, these strategies are likely to be thrown up in the air causing stress and lower productivity until the individual is able to reset. Enter the drama of this pandemic’s uncertainties, and the impact of change on this group becomes amplified.
Nathan Whitbread, the Neurodivergent Coach, and I recently ran a workshop around understanding the impact of the pandemic, remote working and lockdowns on the one in ten workers who have neurodivergent brain patterns. We shared some of the common neurodiverse conditions and some key considerations for this group. See our full article here. Here are some of our top tips:
- Deal with each neurodivergent person’s needs individually. Their exact requirements are likely to be unique to their job and circumstances.
- Consider the tools people need for hybrid or mobile working. How can people access everything they need when in the office and when working at home?
- Consider neurodivergent conditions when evaluating people performance. Are you fully aware of the effort taken to achieve each target that you may set?
- Issues caused by these uncertain times are generally resolved informally by the team working together. Do you need to review how you work together as a team to make sure everyone’s needs are understood and met?
- Consider neurodiversity in your talent management agenda. Have you considered neurodivergent needs at each stage of your employee lifecycle?
If you are early on this journey, you may want to reflect on where your organisation is in terms of its maturity towards neuro-inclusion both in ‘normal’ times and during the pandemic:
- No awareness: People don’t explicitly consider issues that affect neurodiverse colleagues and may not even have a working definition
- Awareness: There is awareness at all levels of the organisation around the challenges colleagues may have who are neurodiverse, possibly with some supportive equipment or software made available
- Adoption: Adopted some processes to ensure there is no negative discrimination against those who are neurodiverse, such as extra consideration paid in interviews
- Adaption: Explicit signs that organisation is adapting to a range of preferences including varied physical workspaces, quiet zones, etc
- Absorption: Evidence gathered to ensure neurodivergent people have equivalent experience to other employees, such as measurably fair career progression
If you consider yourself a Neuro-inclusive employer that has adapted or absorbed neurodiversity into your workplace, we strongly recommend you shout from the rooftops! It’s a great time to promote what you’re doing; it will certainly make your organisation a place many people will want to work.
How we can help
If you have any questions or would like some help, then please get in contact with us. We can help with:
|Individual support such as |
– Coping strategy coaching
– Assistive Technology training
– Individual Workplace Needs assessments
|Team support such as |
– ‘Team reset’ assessments
– ‘Team reset’ workshops or coaching
|Employer support such as|
– Talent Management consulting
– Reputation and brand building
– Policy and Practice review