When it comes to supporting neurodivergent individuals in the workplace, a lot gets said about having reasonable adjustments in place such as working from home and having height adjustable workplaces. Reasonable adjustments are useful in helping a neurodivergent person do their job well. However, it is important for firms to go beyond reasonable adjustments. In this blog post, I will give some examples of what firms can do to further support neurodivergent individuals.
As mentioned before, reasonable adjustments are helpful in that it helps a neurodivergent individual perform their job role to the best of their ability. However, doing the job role well is only one part of the picture when it comes to neurodivergent people navigating the workplace. For a good number of neurodivergent people, myself included, the main challenge that they face in the workplace is feeling included, which has a direct impact on job satisfaction. Therefore, it is important that they are supported by the company so that they can feel included in the workplace.
Here are some other ways neurodivergent individuals can be supported so that they can feel included in the workplace.
Support in building relationships
In most industries, it is beneficial to build strong relationships with others in the same company and industry. Therefore, it is important that neurodivergent individuals are supported when it comes to building these relationships. Ultimately, career progression can be hampered if these strong relationships aren’t built. One way in which support can be provided for this is for the neurodivergent individual to be assigned a mentor that can guide them when it comes to developing and maintaining strong relationships. Furthermore, it is also important that any internal networking events and opportunities to meet people in a larger scale are made inclusive and accessible for neurodivergent individuals. If neurodivergent individuals are supported when it comes to building strong relationships, they can really thrive in their career.
Accommodating when it comes to the social side
As well as building strong professional relationships, getting involved in the social side at work is a good way to get integrated into the culture of a company. However, some people make the assumption that neurodivergent individuals don’t want to get involved in the social side at work. Furthermore, the social side at work for some companies isn’t inclusive for neurodivergent individuals. Both of these factors can lead to neurodivergent individuals being excluded and left behind in the social side of work. However, this does negatively impact job satisfaction and work life balance. Therefore, it is important that thought is given to ensure that neurodivergent individuals are actively being included in the social side. An easy way to do this is to invite them to any socials or other fun things that get planned within the team and company. Furthermore, it is also good to ensure that these social events are inclusive and accessible for neurodivergent individuals, for example by providing them with information ahead of time on what to expect in the social event.
Enabling them to be themselves in the workplace
For the majority of neurodivergent individuals, a big challenge when it comes to the workplace is having to resort to masking in order to fit in. Ultimately, this stops them from showing their authentic self in the workplace. This can be extremely exhausting and can lead to burnout over time. Therefore, there should be a focus on providing support so that neurodivergent individuals can be themselves in the workplace, rather than simply providing support for them to do their core job role well. To enable neurodivergent people to be themselves in the workplace, it is important that a psychologically safe environment is provided which allows them to be heard and listened to. A psychologically safe environment can enable neurodivergent people to feel valued and part of the team, and it will be easier for them to show their authentic self in the workplace.