Why You Should Embrace Neurodiversity In The Workplace, And How To Do It 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏿

Why You Should Embrace Neurodiversity In The Workplace, And How To Do It 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏿

For most of our lives, we've all been taught to not stand out. To make sure we fit into whatever rules the people around us set for us. So, what happens when we don't fall within those expectations? 

Being different can be a hard thing to deal with. Especially when it comes to neurodiverse people at work, and how they fit around company culture. When organizations don’t understand the benefit of employees who think, act, and see differently, a big chunk of capable people gets left behind. 

The good news is that today, more and more businesses are finding just how much positivity neurodiversity can bring to the table. From increased productivity to a more interconnected team, opening the doors to those that think differently can propel a business forward in completely unexpected ways.

What is neurodiversity? 🧠

Neurodiversity is the idea that not everyone’s brain works the same, and that those differences are a natural and essential part of humanity. They’re not something that should be considered as a negative - especially in the workplace.

While there are many ways these differences can manifest, these are some of the most common ones:

  • Hard time focusing on one task for very long.
  • Not liking big crowds, bright lights, or loud noises.
  • Difficulty reading complex texts.
  • Not being able to pick up on some social cues.

Why should organizations care about neurological differences? 🧑‍💻

One of the best things neurodiverse people bring to an organization is their ability to problem-solve and innovate. And, with 15%-20% of the global population having some form of neurodivergence, understanding their contributions to the workforce has never been more important.

Here are some ways neurodiverse people can positively impact your organization:

  • Processing information: People with autism are great at discovering irregularities and recognizing patterns. This makes them ideal at finding critical mistakes and discovering technically sound ways to address them.
  • Creativity: Having Dyslexia forces people to search for creative ways to access the information they need. This encourages them to be great problem solvers no matter the issue.   
  • Productivity: One of the positives of having ADHD is experiencing hyperfocus. A mental state where the person fixates intensely on whatever task they’re doing. This allows them to complete tasks in less time than non-neurodiverse people. 
  • Quality of work: People who experience OCD have an uncanny ability to be detail oriented. This helps them ensure their work quality is consistently high and mistake-free. 

Tips for embracing neurodiversity in the workplace 🫂

While understanding neurodiverse people’s contributions is key, setting them up for success is even more important. So, here are some ways your organization can make that happen.

Help them stay organized 📝

Many types of neurodiversity involve losing focus easily or having a hard time understanding what is most important. A great way to overcome this is by sitting down with the employee to understand how to best help them focus. Try seeing if a project management tool like Asana helps. With due dates and priority orders clearly laid out, it might be just the solution they need. 

Accommodate their needs 🙋‍♀️

From allowing a permanent remote work set up, to providing noise cancelling headphones, accommodating the needs of neurodiverse people is imperative. Some prefer lower lighting, a private space at the office, or require taking a break every hour to re-focus. Whatever that looks like, accommodating their needs should be top of mind as long as they’re reaching their work goals. 

Make them feel welcomed 👋

Plenty of neurodiverse people have had bad experiences at work. They’ve felt discriminated against, misunderstood, and held to arbitrary standards. The same way we discuss acceptance around different skin tones or religions so should we talk about neurodiversity. A good way to do this is by having regular diversity and inclusion training. You can have your HR team organize it or you can bring experts from outside the organization to guide your team through the topic.

More resources 💁‍♂️

Now that you understand how important neurodiverse employees are to the growth of an organization, you might want to keep learning about the subject. 

Here are some additional resources you can turn to for more information about neurodiversity in the workplace:

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