The Accessible Office: Supporting Neurodivergent Colleagues
Neurodivergent is a term used to describe those whose brain differences affect how their brain works, encompassing conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and OCD, to name a few. With an estimated 15% of the population being neurodivergent, and many only being diagnosed in mid to late adulthood, it is essential that workplaces are inclusive and accessible for everyone. Here are a few ways that you can better support your neurodivergent colleagues with simple changes to your workplace!
Minimise Distraction, Maximise Success
For a person with ADHD, their mind is always wandering. Constantly searching for the most stimulating thought, it can be intensely challenging to keep focus on a monotonous work task. One solution is sit-stand desks, which, as well as being recommended by medical professionals to improve general health and wellbeing, have been said to help chronic fidgeters maintain focus.
Additionally, bright, flickering, and glaring lights can be a distraction to neurodivergent colleagues. If your lights have seen better days, investing in something higher quality can reduce distractions and improve productivity.
Hypersensitivity can feel like intense anxiety, impact other functions such as speech, decision making and information processing, and be physically and emotionally draining. Adapting the environment to ease discomfort is essential.
Sensory issues are common in those on the autistic spectrum and can seriously impact their work life.
Ensuring that the office is tidy, well-lit, organised clearly and colour-coded can also reduce sensory issues, and supports those with dyslexia too. Other easy ways to reduce sensory issues include the avoidance of strongly scented air-fresheners, the use of noise-cancelling headphones, and having dimmable or adjustable lighting.
The best way of accommodating different work styles and personal needs is to offer a range of workspaces for people to choose from. Try implementing quiet spaces where people can go for a change in environment and to avoid crowds and background noise, tech-free zones to eliminate technological distractions, and higher stimuli areas for socialising and collaborative work.
The hope is to allow neurodivergent colleagues to maintain their creativity and productivity in the workplace whilst also preserving their focus and maintaining a calm, stress-free working day – a flexible workplace is the ideal way to facilitate this and support their success.
Are your neurodivergent colleagues properly supported in your office? Contact us today and we can get your plans in action for a more accessible office space!
Head Office: Saracen Group Ltd, Unit H, Manawey Business Park,
Telephone: +44 (0)870 743 0920
Fax: +44 (0)870 743 0922
A company registered in England. Registration No:12003145