If you’re in charge of managing multiple employees, it’s likely that at least one of them has ADHD. People with ADHD and other types of neurodivergence are intelligent, hard-working, and capable. Their brain chemistry also makes everyday tasks a challenge sometimes. They know this, and they do everything in their power to work around these particular challenges.
As an employer, you naturally want what’s best for your employees so they feel safe, content, and productive in the workplace. By learning more about ADHD brain functioning, you can also help them feel seen and understood. What’s not to love about that? As a therapist for millennials with ADHD and anxiety, I work with clients to help them understand how to better accommodate their own neurodivergence – and the neurodivergence of other people in their lives. Here are tips on how you can support your ADHD employees at work.
If you don’t know much about ADHD, take some time to learn about it. There are plenty of useful resources out there to help you be more informed. You can learn a lot by simply browsing credible internet sites and reading blogs from people who focus on ADHD (like me). Or you may even be able to get involved with local employer support groups in your community.
The more you learn about ADHD, the better you can support your employees who live with it. Here are a few things you might not know about your neurodivergent employees.
One of the most supportive things you as an employer can do is offer flexible timing and scheduling. Whenever possible, consider implementing as much flexibility as your employees’ jobs allow. Flexibility is incredibly helpful for people with ADHD, anxiety, and more. Everyone is different in their needs and desires for scheduling. The best way to figure out what works well for your employees is to ask them and give them room to switch it up when they need to.
There are multiple ways you can offer your employees more flexibility. One is a flexible work environment. Although some folks with ADHD struggle to work from home, others may crave it. A hybrid or work-from-home optional workplace can help your ADHD employees feel less bored. It might help them to do things like go to different coffee shops or utilize coworking groups to get the job done and feel productive.
Another way to offer flexibility is through variable work hours. ADHD can disrupt sleep, and neurodivergent folks may not function well in the early morning or late afternoon. Let them set their own schedules to reflect the times they feel their best.
Clarity with your ADHD employees goes a long way in helping them stay on track. One way to do this is to offer written instructions for projects whenever possible. This helps ensure they can come back and complete things on their own timeline without letting anything fall through the cracks.
Another way to offer clarity is to break bigger deadlines or projects into smaller, short-term goals. Having a big-picture goal can be overwhelming to folks with ADHD, and having more manageable tasks to complete can help them feel accomplished and on track.
You don’t need me to tell you that every individual is different with different needs. You may have multiple employees with ADHD who all require different means of support. The best way to understand your employees is to check in with them and ask them what’s working, what’s not working, and what, if anything, they’d like to do differently. You can also use this time to offer them feedback, ask questions, and make requests. Opening up a regular line of communication can build trust and rapport between the two of you – and improve their mental health.
Managing employees is a lot of work. It takes time, effort, and skills to learn how to become a good boss. If you want support in becoming the most effective, caring manager you can be – while also taking the best care of your own wellbeing – consider therapy. I’m here to help you figure out how to expand your knowledge and be a strong support system for all your employees, including those with ADHD.
I’m ready if you are. Reach out today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Danielle is an anxiety therapist. She specializes in helping busy millennials dial down their anxiety and ADHD, so they can perform at their best. Danielle has been featured on Apartment Therapy, SparkPeople, Lifewire, and Now Art World. When Danielle isn't helping her clients, she's playing video games or spending time with her partner and step children.