6 tips to help with ADHD in the workplace

With 2.8% of adults worldwide affected by prevalent ADHD (according to the National Centre of Biotechnology Information), it’s important for employers to know how to identify, manage and help with ADHD in the workplace.

It’s a common misconception that employees with ADHD are being ‘lazy’. But in reality, issues with productivity often stem from planning and organisation difficulties, as well as difficulties staying focused on low interest tasks for long periods of time. In contrast, employees with ADHD engaged in high-interest tasks will be more productive than others.  In this article we present six tips to implement into your workplace to support the productivity and engagement levels of your employees with ADHD.

Symptoms and behaviours of ADHD

First, to help you better understand how ADHD impacts employees, here is a short list of common symptoms and behaviours:

  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Easily distracted and trouble paying attention
  • Constantly moving between tasks without completing them
  • Impulsivity
  • Forgetting items or appointments
  • Low motivation to start new tasks

6 tips for employers to help with ADHD in the workplace

Here are six techniques employers can use to support and help with ADHD in the workplace:

#1 Support their deadlines

Deadlines can be tough for everyone, so it’s important to provide employees with ADHD with support in meeting them. One of the best ways to support deadlines is by breaking down more complex tasks into smaller, easy to manage tasks.

#2 Regular movement breaks

Allow several (short) movement breaks throughout the day to manage the effort and fatigue that employees with ADHD are likely experiencing when completing tasks, and to support their—likely—preference for movement.

#3 Help plan leave

Take the time to support your employee by helping to plan and schedule their leave to reduce the risk of burnout.

#4 Improve the work environment

The employee’s work environment should affirm their differences. Their environment should reduce their need to mask and encourage them toward strategies that support them to function—this is something that they can discuss with a psychologist!

#5 Declutter their space

As much as possible, ensure that the employee’s workspace is free from clutter and distractions.

#6 Mindfulness of thinking

Be mindful that the employee may share their ideas before thinking them through. Try to respond with something positive, like, “That idea has great potential. Let’s see if it works.”