Workplace Accommodations for ADHD Your Company Should Have

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Managers and team leaders have to understand how crucial accommodating each team player is nowadays. However, workplace accommodations for ADHD aren’t available in some companies, causing employees with this condition to struggle.

One study showed that people with ADHD are 60% more likely to get fired, 30% more likely to have work issues, and three times more likely to quit impulsively. These are often people who will make your company better as they are supported. It can’t just be on the employee to “figure it out” and companies must respond to the call and support their ADHD coworkers.

Why is it important to have workplace accommodations for ADHD, and how can companies do so? We dive deep into these questions in this article and provide solutions and ideas to help you support ADHD staff at work. 

Why Companies Shouldn’t Ignore Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects millions of adults worldwide. Most people and organizations perceive it as a childhood disorder, but its implications continue into adulthood.

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by employees with ADHD allows organizations to unlock a reservoir of untapped potential. Here are some benefits when you request accommodations for ADHD in your company.

  • Many with ADHD think outside the box, bringing novel solutions and fresh perspectives to problems.
  • When genuinely interested in a task, they can achieve intense periods of focus, often referred to as “hyperfocus,” allowing for deep work and rapid task completion.
  • There’s greater enthusiasm and drive in the right context, potentially boosting team morale.
  • Years of managing ADHD can often lead to a high degree of resilience.
  • Many with ADHD have strong intuitive skills that help them quickly size up situations or read between the lines.
  • Their brains often jump from one topic to another, making them versatile thinkers and potential multitaskers.
  • They may be more willing to take risks and discover innovative solutions or ventures others might not consider.
  • Challenges faced due to ADHD can enhance empathy and understanding toward others who face difficulties.
  • Their rapid thought processes can be advantageous in situations requiring quick thinking and adaptability.
  • It’s the law. Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to motivate companies to create accommodations for people with various disabilities, ADHD staff included.

But beyond what a company gets out of their employees with ADHD, they should also think about the ethical implications of promoting an inclusive workplace. Diversity in the workplace has become a center of gravity for many industries. 

Inclusivity doesn’t stop with gender or race. It must also extend well into other considerations, such as mental health conditions. ADHD is one that many have pushed into the backburner for far too long. It’s time we started taking notice.

Common Workplace Accommodations for ADHD Employees

If you’re a company looking to provide reasonable accommodations, there are many you can implement easily. What workplace accommodations can you implement to help employees who struggle with ADHD?

Here are some common workplace ADHD accommodations that will help ADHD staff perform essential functions within the organization, followed by sample scenarios and implementation tips.

1. Flexible Work Schedule

One of the common ADHD symptoms is morning sluggishness, a common symptom of ADHD. Coming to work at the standard 9 AM often means some ADHD employees might be less productive in the early hours.

Hence, a flexible work schedule can greatly affect workplace inclusivity. 

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Allow ADHD employees to start the workday later as long as they complete their work hours and deliverables.
  • Use tools like online calendars to keep track of varied schedules.
  • Ensure team communication is consistent so everyone is aware of availability.

2. Frequent Breaks

Let’s say you have a company copywriter named Emma, who finds she can focus intently for short bursts but then needs a mental break to recharge. Emma received an ADHD diagnosis early on. 

One reasonable accommodation that could help Emma greatly is introducing frequent beaks so she can recharge between writing bursts. 

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Implement a method like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves focused work for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break.
  • Provide a quiet, designated break space.
  • Use timers or apps to remind employees when to take breaks.

3. Noise-Reducing Equipment and Quiet Facilities

People with ADHD easily get distracted by office chatter and outside noise. As a result, there could be a drop in productivity among your coworkers with ADHD. What could help is to provide avenues with little to no distraction and to normalize that experiencw. 

You can also provide accommodations for noise-reducing gear for all your staff. This will help your non-ADHD staff operate more efficiently in a private office and also not make ADHD employees feel singled out.

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Provide noise-canceling headphones.
  • Designate quiet areas in the office.
  • Implement a policy of respecting quiet zones.

4. Written Instructions

Someone with ADHD be prone to forgeting verbal instructions. That’s why it benefits them to have tasks written down. Creating written instructions is a great practice to accommodate teams with ADHD workers better. 

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Utilize tools like email, Slack, or Trello to communicate tasks.
  • Encourage managers to recap meetings with written summaries.
  • Provide notebooks or digital note-taking tools.

5. Task Management Software

Keeping a mental note of tasks isn’t a strong suit for someone who struggles with ADHD forgetfulness. So, it’s likely that they will need a system in place to help document and monitor tasks. 

The best software for this is task management software, which records tasks, detailed instructions, deadlines, and accountabilities. 

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Implement task management software. We highly recommend Leantime because we created it with ADHD employees in mind.
  • Offer training sessions on how to use a task management tool.
  • Encourage team members to update their task progress regularly.

6. Regular Feedback and Check-ins

Let’s think about another fictional employee with ADHD named Nina. She sometimes drifts off-course on projects without realizing she’s veering from the objective. 

To help Nina, the human resources department should schedule regular feedback and check-in sessions to bring alignment and clarity. They don’t have to be long, but they must be consistent. Doing so will help bring better project alignment.

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Schedule regular one-on-one check-ins.
  • Use a positive and constructive approach to feedback.
  • Clearly outline expectations and any corrections needed.

7. Physical Movement Opportunities

Someone with ADHD often feels restless after sitting for long periods and finds movement helps their focus. So, creating a workspace and provisions within that environment to move can help accommodate ADHD employees.

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Offer stand-up desks or adjustable workstations.
  • Encourage short walking breaks.
  • Consider incorporating “walking meetings” when feasible.

8. Training and Skill Development

ADHD employees might sometimes feel overwhelmed with new software because of their condition. They struggle to complete self-paced training materials and might feel frustrated when overcoming a learning curve. 

Providing a varied approach to training people with ADHD could help build better workplace accommodations. 

Don’t consider this as specialized training. Remember that everyone learns differently, and acknowledging that will help achieve a collective good for the company.

Some Implementation Tips:

  • Offer training sessions when your company introduces new tools and software.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to attend workshops or webinars.
  • Offer access to online courses and tutorials.

Challenges of ADHD Employees in the Workplace

Certainly, individuals with ADHD often face unique challenges in the workplace that can affect their performance and overall job satisfaction. Here are some common challenges ADHD employees face at work. 

  • Distractibility. Distractions abound in the workplace. Even for work-from-home staff, there can still be some form of distraction. People with ADHD might find it harder to ignore these distractions and focus on the task.

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Easily sidetracked by external stimuli, like noises, conversations, or phone notifications
  • Difficulty maintaining focus on longer tasks or during meetings
  • Impulsivity. Impulsive behavior is common among ADHD employees, causing them to make rash and hasty decisions that could affect their individual and the team’s overall performances. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Might speak or act without thinking, potentially leading to misunderstandings or conflicts
  • Often, he makes hasty decisions without considering all the implications.
  • Time Management. We all have the same forty hours in our work weeks, but people with ADHD often have difficulty managing it. The cause is mainly their brains’ innate tendency to process information non-linearly.

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Struggling with estimating how long a task will take and allocating adequate time for it
  • Often feeling rushed or frequently running late for work or meetings
  • Organizational Issues. Also, because of non-linear thinking, people with ADHD could have difficulty organizing projects, data points, or workspaces. This is not to be tolerated, of course, but helping them organize with the right avenues and tools helps. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Difficulty in prioritizing tasks and maintaining an organized workspace
  • Misplacing important documents or forgetting appointments
  • Procrastination. Procrastination isn’t uncommon among team members who have ADHD. They’re more likely to put off tasks, especially when we don’t communicate urgency and importance well. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Delaying tasks, especially if they seem overwhelming or uninteresting
  • Difficulty starting tasks even if they’re understood to be important
  • Task Completion. Completing tasks could be as hard as initiating them for someone with ADHD when leaders don’t communicate the incentive or end goal. So, guidance and motivation help them carry out their tasks effectively. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Challenges with starting new tasks, especially complex ones
  • Leaving tasks unfinished and jumping to the next one
  • Hyperfocus. In some cases, the complete opposite effect could be on a person with ADHD’s focus levels. They can sometimes hyperfocus on a task or subject matter and lose track of more pressing issues. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Becoming so engrossed in one task that they lose track of time or neglect other important tasks
  • Difficulty in transitioning from one task to another
  • Restlessness or Hyperactivity. Physical and mental restlessness happen very often to someone with ADHD. Giving them the “permitted space” to exercise restlessness could also benefit them and the company. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Feeling the need to move around often, which can be challenging in traditional office settings
  • Can come off as restless or anxious during meetings
  • Emotional Regulation. The truth of the matter is that people with ADHD more often feel more frustrated with their attention and hyperactivity challenges than the people around them. An unaccepting and judgmental space could only trigger that more. 

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • Might become easily frustrated, overwhelmed, or stressed
  • Challenges in managing and expressing emotions appropriately
  • Sensitivity to Criticism. Mental health disorders and conditions have been a widely shunned stigma for so many years. Accordingly, there can be more sensitivity to work performance affected by ADHD.

What this Challenge Looks Like

  • May perceive feedback or criticism more intensely, leading to feelings of inadequacy or defensiveness
  • Struggling to separate personal value from professional feedback

Why Leantime is a Great Tool for People with ADHD

For years, we wanted to find a work management solution to help organizations with ADHD. Typically, these tools are “individual” focused and missing the relevant work information to stay on track. Finding that balanced tool would give the more than 8 million adults in the US and millions worldwide a tool that empowers them.

That’s why we created Leantime, an assistive technology for ADHD staff. It’s a task and work management tool that helps ADHD employees in various ways. More specifically, it has provisions such as: 

  • Multiple project views to fit one’s personal preferences
  • A distraction-free dashboard
  • Easy-to-understand Gantt Chart timelines
  • Time blocking tools
  • Easy notes and reminders
  • AI-focused tools that help with ADD and ADHD
  • And more

But more than that, we focus on building intrinsic motivation by showcasing the goals, purpose, and relevance to the work each individual is doing. By creating this tool for companies with ADHD employees, we hope to promote more inclusive workplaces and allow people with ADHD to shine. 

Leantime is also a great option for companies with staff who struggle with Dyslexia. We want to provide an open-source solution that all team members will appreciate, use, and maximize.

Final Thoughts

The key to greater inclusivity is not singling out and isolating an employee or group of employees. It’s to help everyone understand that we’re all different and promote a workplace that embraces that uniqueness.

Creating reasonable accommodations for ADHD staff will be challenging, especially initially. But the rewards for your ADHD employees and the company will far outweigh the effort needed to implement these conditions. 

When employees with ADHD thrive and succeed, their colleagues and the entire company will also succeed. Valuing this collective win is key to becoming more progressive organizations that flourish in this new age. 

Other articles you may be interested in reading…

Gloria Folaron is the CEO and founder of Leantime. A Nurse first, she describes herself as an original non-project manager. Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life, she has hands on experience in navigating the world of project and product management and staying organized with ADHD.

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