There’s a lot to admire about ADHD: the creativity, the empathy, the persistence, and the unique abilities it offers many individuals. For those reasons, people with ADHD can be an asset to any company.
Creating a functional workspace with diverse talents and needs can help companies in achieving their business objectives. It can also make the workplace healthier and more inclusive. Not to mention that it provides more opportunities for those with ADHD to contribute their talents and skills in meaningful ways.
Unfortunately, half of managers are still reluctant to hire people with certain neuroidentities. This is largely due to the widespread misconceptions of ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other neuroidentities.
In this article, we discuss 5 things to know about ADHD at work in 2022 while dispelling common myths.
1. ADHD Can Be a Strength
Many of the characteristics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder can have potential strengths that can manifest when properly honed and nurtured. They can improve an individual’s success in the workplace and the world.
“Being [ADHD], I think different, I process information different, and it’s become a strength, a superpower. The ability to be able to see things objectively from a completely different standpoint from my peers or my cohorts at work, or even in personal situations has been a huge advantage.” – Victoria St. John
Some skills that neurodivergent people (but not all neurodivergent people) can excel at include:
- Problem Solving: People with ADHD can come up with creative solutions to complex problems that their neurotypical peers may overlook.
- Creativity: Many neurodistinct people not only think outside the box, but also create their own worlds of boundless imagination and creativity.
- Hyper-focus: ADHD doesn’t always mean a lack of attention. Adults with ADHD can often enter episodes of sustained, intense focus.
- Energy: Some neurodivergent people have energy that they can channel toward success in the workplace. In fact, many celebrities attribute their current success to their ADHD.
ADHD has helped many performers, athletes, and businesspeople achieve great things. This shows that it can be the opposite of a hindrance.
2. Women also have ADHD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls are. The reason for the diagnosis gap is that ADHD is thought to be male-only. Moreover, symptoms can less visible or disruptive in women than in men.
ADHD can manifest differently in boys and girls. Women can be less hyperactive than men. Furthermore, it appears that women who did not discover their ADHD as children are frequently being diagnosed as adults.
Fortunately, awareness about ADHD in women is increasing in social settings and in the workplace.
3. There Are Different Types of ADHD
Many people don’t know this, but there are three types of ADHD. Each of which has one or more unique characteristics:
- Inattentive type: People may be distracted easily, but they are also divergent thinkers. They can spot new answers and come up with innovative ideas rather than following fixed patterns and methods of thinking about challenges.
- Hyperactive-impulsive type: This kind of ADHD is distinguished by a continual demand for mobility. It might manifest as symptoms such as restlessness, fidgeting, and excessive talking. The increased energy offered by hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD can be beneficial when directed toward achieving goals.
- Combination type: Combination type ADHD allows adults to exhibit characteristics of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types. They may have a lot of energy, can solve creative problems, and can withstand a lot of pressure.
4. People With ADHD Want an Inclusive Workplace
Many managers are hesitant to hire neurodistinct individuals, believing that they will require significant accommodations and put a strain on corporate budgets. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are tons of successful, high-level workers with ADHD, including leading lawyers and doctors. This is because many people with ADHD can be innovative, have out-of-the-box thinking, will take strategic risks, and can be hyper-focused. Often times, these individuals also require little to no extra help to be more effective. However, “masking” – or hiding neurodivergent traits, can be harmful to an individual’s mental wellbeing. If the environment isn’t accepting of diversity or neurodiversity, many with ADHD won’t reveal it to their employers. In fact, if your organization hasn’t outwardly expressed their appreciation for neurodiversity, you likely have many employees masking now!
A diverse and inclusive workplace is more well-rounded and thus more valuable to a business than one made up of strictly neurotypical employees. Companies must begin to create a corporate environment that establishes a culture in which people are welcomed for their uniqueness and can advocate for their own needs.
5. Management Must Receive Neurodiversity Training
Neurodiversity training is an important part of making effective adjustments in the workplace. It helps managers in implementing practices for positive change, whether an employee is dyslexic, autistic, has ADHD, or any other neuroidentity.
This type of training is valuable because it educates employees and management on neurodiversity in the workplace and how to build a more tolerant, inclusive work environment where all members of the company can thrive.
With neurodiversity training, managers can:
- Create a workplace environment where neurodiverse talent is recognized and supported to the benefit of the entire workforce.
- Equip employees and managers with the skills they need to develop confidence in their abilities.
- Ensure the company complies with any legal obligation to support neurodiverse staff.
Not everyone with ADHD has the same personality traits, but there are several advantages to having ADHD that might make it a benefit rather than a burden, especially in the workplace.
It is important to understand that neurodiversity is critical for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition, attract competent people, and build a well-rounded team. As such, neurodiversity training is one way for managers to guarantee that they build an inclusive work atmosphere in which neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals collaborate effectively for the greater good of the company.
Get free access to “Women with ADHD in the workplace” webinar with Samantha Hiew & Dr. Jacqui Wilmshurst.