This informal CPD article, ‘How to create a workplace that supports employees with ADHD’, was provided by Champs Consulting, who support organisations globally, delivering mental health first aid training, stress-free living workshops and wellbeing consultancy solutions.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a form of neurodivergence that impacts attention and concentration. People with ADHD can experience impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness. While they may struggle focusing at times, people with ADHD can also hyperfocus1.
ADHD is nuanced. The way it displays can be different from person to person. As such, it is no surprise that an ADHD diagnosis can occur at any point in someone’s life. In recent years, we have seen a rise in ADHD diagnoses in adults2 with 3 to 4 percent of adults3 in the UK having an ADHD diagnosis. This increase in diagnoses may, in part, be due to ADHD being better recognised and diagnosed as stigma around neurodivergence and mental health decreases. With that said, there are also many people living with ADHD who go undiagnosed.
The prevalence of ADHD raises the question of what can workplaces do to support employees with ADHD?
Understanding ADHD in the workplace
Before we can explore ways to support employees with ADHD, we first need to understand the prevalence of ADHD in the workplace. As we delve deeper into the realms of ADHD in the workplace, we will shine a light on the myths and misconceptions surrounding ADHD. We will also look at the unique challenges that people with ADHD may face at work along with how their ADHD could be a hidden superpower or strength.
ADHD myths and misconceptions
Sadly, ADHD is a neurodivergent condition shrouded in myths and misconceptions. So, let’s reveal the reality behind some common misbeliefs.
“ADHD isn’t a real condition” – ADHD is classed as a mental health disability under the Mental Health Act (1990). Research has shown ADHD can be caused by numerous factors including genetics, brain anatomy and functioning, prenatal exposures, and environmental factors.
“People with ADHD can never focus” – People with ADHD can have difficulty concentrating and may be easily distracted. However, they also can hyperfocus on things they are really interested in. For people with ADHD, effectively managing what they focus on can be a challenging part of their neurodivergence.
is just laziness” – While
employees with ADHD may appear lazy, distracted, or disorganised, the truth is
they are often working harder than their colleagues to keep pace. With the
right adjustments and support, people with ADHD can thrive in the workplace.
“You grow out of ADHD as you get older” – While it may seem like some people outgrow ADHD, it is more likely they have developed coping mechanisms and strategies for managing their condition. ADHD is a “lifespan” condition - While it is typically first recognised in childhood, it can also be diagnosed later in life.
These are just a few of the misconceptions surrounding ADHD. While ADHD education and awareness are increasing, it is still a largely misunderstood neurodivergent condition.