supporting neurodiversity in the workplace
It is estimated that up to 20% of the UK population is neurodivergent

How to support neurodiversity in the workplace

It's important to create an inclusive and productive environment for all employees

Neurodiversity covers a range of neurological differences that can affect the way a person approaches life, work and relationships. Although there are many forms of neurodiversity, the term includes autism, ADHD, dyslexia and many more neurological differences.

It is estimated that up to 20% of the UK population is neurodivergent. Therefore, as an employer, it is even more important to take supporting neurodiversity in the workplace seriously, and in a way that creates an inclusive and productive environment for all employees.

Strategies to support neurodiversity at work

Flexible working arrangements

That might be remote working or flexible working hours. Work with your employee to find a way to accommodate their needs and preferences.

Communication styles

It might be that someone copes better with written communication or visual aids rather than verbally. Again, take time to find out what makes a neurodiverse individual feel most comfortable and adapt processes where you can to meet those needs.

Workplace environment  

Consider how to create a workplace that is sensitive to someone that is neurodiverse. Reducing loud noises and replacing harsh lighting can often help – take your lead from that individual and do what you can to create an area in which they feel comfortable.

Working practices

It’s not difficult to make what might be fairly small changes to help someone feel at ease. That might be flexibility over breaks, offering a quiet space, noise cancelling headphones or adaptive technologies that are sensory-friendly.

 

As an employer, the attitude to neurodiversity at work will start with you or your managers. You’ll probably be the first to be aware of any requirements. Be open to learning and adapting to new ideas and encourage the rest of your team to do the same.

 

Education and awareness

Make sure your employees know about neurodiversity through workshops and neurodiversity training sessions. You can invite guest speakers in who will help them understand more about the different conditions and challenges.

Encourage understanding

Use neurodiversity training and on-going learning to break down barriers and combat stigma and misconceptions. Openly discuss topics and encourage neurodiverse individuals to share their experiences and celebrate neurodiversity at work and the opportunities it can bring.

Mentoring and support

Establish programmes or peer support networks that offer neurodiverse employees a point of contact that understands their needs enough to guide and reassure them.

Feedback

Make this work both ways. Ask neurodiverse employees for feedback on how they feel about how the workplace works for them, what helps them feel more comfortable and what they struggle with. In turn, feed this and any other information you feel might be relevant back to all employees so that they can see that the efforts everyone is making can be valuable and effective.

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting neurodiversity. By being flexible, open to learning, and willing to adapt you can create an inclusive workplace that benefits everyone by fostering a sense of belonging.

ACS Staffing Solutions has strategic partnerships in place that can advise on training and support when it comes to creating a workplace that works for all, including neurodiverse employees. Contact us online or give us a call on 01604 704058 to find out more.

Hannah Hewitt
September 8, 2023
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