In the past, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was frequently seen as a condition that only affected children. ADHD affects just under 10% of children, making it one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental diseases of childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Regardless of whether it was diagnosed in childhood, it is now understood to be a disorder that persists well into adulthood. Additionally, the diagnosis of ADHD in adults over the past 10 years has increased, notably in millennials or individuals born between 1981-1996.
How does ADHD affect your workplace?
As an employer, you appreciate your staff members’ particular focus, attention to detail, speed, organisation, and cooperation skills. Unfortunately, depending on the kind of ADHD they have and the degree of their symptoms, ADHD can make these skills exceedingly challenging for certain people.
ADHD symptoms can cause difficulties in a team-based environment if they are not properly managed or treated. A disorganised employee who needs help prioritising tasks, managing their time poorly, and submitting work late or after the deadline may irritate other staff members. Employers may also discover unmanaged ADHD can result in higher costs due to lost productivity, absences or presenteeism, and increased health care costs.
Jobs for people with ADHD are more likely to skip or arrive late to work, have strained relationships with coworkers, and change careers frequently. They are also more likely to be fired. Of course, you could think that your staff members are being tough or challenging on purpose if they haven’t been given an ADHD diagnosis (or haven’t disclosed it to you), but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
However, there are some advantages. Employees with ADHD frequently bring unique talents to the office. Many people can be imaginative, think creatively, concentrate intensely, and are more prepared to take calculated risks.
How can I tell whether I require accommodations?
This can be a personal query that calls for some introspection. While many adults with ADHD work effectively and without incident, not everyone with ADHD has the same experiences. Procrastination, diversions, communication difficulties, and project management are common difficulties for adults with ADHD. However, some people who struggle with these challenges may devise solutions and workarounds.
Accommodating an ADHD employee
You may be required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who disclose a diagnosis of ADHD to ensure that they can perform crucial job duties. Even though adjustments for ADHD are sometimes available, you’ll probably see a significant shift in the employees who accept them.
Even though each person is unique, suitable accommodations for workers with ADHD may involve little changes like:
- A peaceful environment or noise-cancelling headphones to minimise distractions
- Calendars to record significant deadlines
- Timers to assist the person in staying on task
- tasks that are broken down into more manageable, smaller pieces
- Brief, intermittent breaks
- More extended deadlines or more time to finish the assignment
- A well-established peer review process to confirm meticulous work
- Modified working hours to account for moments of increased attention and focus
- Guidelines, instructions, and training materials in writing for future use
Ask your employee how ADHD has affected their ability to execute crucial job duties or whether their healthcare professional has made any particular advice before you assume what your employee may or may not require.
The list of adjustments that many adults with ADHD, like you, found useful is not exhaustive. So keep an open mind, and try out different accommodations with your employer. If a strategy works, stick with it. If it doesn’t, switch to another task.
1. Distractibility and Lack of Attention
Jobs for people with ADHD are less able to filter distractions, interruptions, and even movement in the workplace than individuals without the disorder. Self-distraction is another issue for those with ADHD. For example, when there are too many outside distractions, they could find it challenging to focus on a conversation.
2. Having trouble with boring tasks
Long, tedious tasks or those requiring a lot of detail present difficulties for adults with ADHD, almost usually because they do not engage the brain sufficiently to enable concentration. Tasks can be made more interesting by:
- Set a timer for 30 minutes, and try to finish the assignment as quickly as possible.
- Dividing a lengthy work into smaller ones.
- Social and interpersonal activities
Jobs for people with ADHD can occasionally be too frank, talk too much, interrupt others, and not listen or give heed to what others are saying. This is frequently viewed as being impolite or careless. However, these difficulties can be lessened by:
- Requesting a reliable coworker constructive criticism when communicating with others.
- You ask a reliable coworker to give you discreet signs when you are going too far. You’ll eventually become more adept at interpreting social signs.
- Identifying circumstances that frequently result in interpersonal or social problems and developing a strategy to deal with them with the help of a coach.
Once accommodations are set up, follow up periodically with the employee to ensure that they are satisfactory or if any alterations are required.
ADHD and other problems that cause underperformance on the job are problems that affect workers across all levels and industries. Sadly, a large number still need to be diagnosed, and other elements like incapacity, a lack of drive, or other character defects and inadequacies frequently explain away their deficiencies. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to observe how a thorough and tailored analysis of the employee’s areas of difficulty, followed by the implementation of workplace adjustments, enables the employee’s professional skills and talents to stand out.