Managing Employees With ADHD
The workplace is geared towards productivity and consistent performance, with little room for distractions of any kind. But for employees with ADHD, distractions can come from unexpected places at unexpected times. This can be frustrating for employers who want maximum efficiency from all of their employees, but there’s no reason to write out a termination letter. Employees with ADHD can still be a great asset to a company despite the hindrances of their condition. With the proper patience, employers can turn their employees into a fundamental part of the business.
If you’re an employer who manages employees with ADHD, this article will discuss how to manage those employees better and pivot their distracted and forgetful behaviors into an opportunity for growth.
Image: Jstor Daily
Observe Your Employees’ ADHD Symptoms
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex condition, as most people will not experience the same symptoms, and many symptoms can vary in severity. If you have a struggling employee with ADHD, the first step towards maximizing their productivity is assessing their unique symptoms. Whether they get distracted easily, have sporadic outbursts of energy, or are consistently forgetful, laying this foundation will allow you to understand your employee better and effectively help them moving forward.
Assign Tasks Based On Their Unique Strengths
As you determine your employee’s shortcomings based on their ADHD symptoms, you should also be able to figure out what tasks they’re better suited for. Some employees may be able to focus on more repetitive tasks, while others may be skilled at multitasking many things at once as it accommodates their attention span.
Once you’ve narrowed down these strengths, it’s important to assign work that accommodates these strengths so your employee can be as productive as possible.
Flexible Work Scheduling
ADHD can make it difficult to manage time properly, and for some individuals, it can be hard to focus early in the morning. An effective way around this is by allowing flexible work scheduling for employees with ADHD. By allowing employees to work an untraditional schedule, you’ll be able to get more work from them than you would with a standard 9-5.
Whether they work at intermittent times throughout the day or they start and end their work a little later than most other employees, they’ll likely be more effective, and you’ll be able to see greater productivity in due time.
Provide Deadline Accommodations
Deadlines can be a nightmare for people with ADHD, as feelings of procrastination and forgetfulness often push work back until the last minute. If you have an employee who has had trouble with deadlines in the past, it can be helpful to provide accommodations that will make it easier for them to get work done by a certain point.
One way you could accomplish this is by giving employees with ADHD specific benchmarks to hit leading up to a deadline. That way, there is more work being done over time instead of all of it having to be done by one specific time. It can also be helpful to maintain flexible deadlines whenever possible in anticipation of an employee having trouble with the first deadline that was put in place.
Use Accountability Partners
Outside motivation can be very helpful for people with ADHD, and your employee with ADHD can receive this motivation through an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who helps another person stay on task through frequent check-ins and encouragement.
This role could be filled by a fellow employee from the HR department or even yourself, as long as it’s someone who an employee with ADHD can trust. Once an accountability partner has been introduced, they should be able to help the employee through their tasks with measured nudges in the right direction.
What Are The Benefits Of Having An ADHD Employee?
While there are many negative sides to ADHD, many people have identified various positive aspects of ADHD that can benefit several aspects of life. Some employees with ADHD may become valuable assets due to their symptoms, and leveraging their abilities can help ensure they continue to be valued members of your team. Below are some of the most common behaviors associated with ADHD that can be a boon to workplace productivity.
ADHD is largely marked by issues with attention span, but there is also a tendency for people to become hyper-focused on one specific task. It can be difficult to distract a person with ADHD when they reach a point of hyper-focus, which often means they can get things done quickly and without any delay. This often requires someone to be interested in what they’re focusing on, but hyper-focus can also be triggered by a necessity such as a fast-approaching deadline. In either case, a hyper-focused employee is often able to get a lot of work done fast.
Good In Crisis
Research has shown that people with ADHD produce more Theta brain waves than other brains, which contributes to greater feelings of calm and relaxation. In the workplace, this can make it easier to make level-headed decisions as employees with ADHD will be less prone to panic. It’s hardly a certainty in everyone with ADHD, but having people who are good in a crisis is crucial to any company that wants to stay afloat when times get tough.
People with ADHD can be incredibly creative, with many of them having some kind of affinity for art forms such as painting, music, or writing. This creativity can translate very well to many different workplaces, especially ones with a particular focus on creative fields.
Out Of The Box Thinkers
Along with the benefit of creativity in employees with ADHD, many people are able to think out of the box like few other people can. If your company is ever having a hard time with something, an employee with ADHD might be able to provide a fresh perspective that will make everyone happy.
Ability To Multitask
People with ADHD can often juggle many tasks at once, which can translate to exceptional multitasking skills in the workplace. If your company requires a lot of things to be done at once, you can likely depend on an employee with ADHD to get all of the work done at once.
ADHD Employees Can Succeed
It takes time to understand how any employee works, and this is just as true with employees that have ADHD. With some patience and persistence, you can develop any struggling employee with ADHD into a valued part of your team.
If you have employees who are having an especially hard time with their ADHD symptoms, there are resources online where they can find help, get ADHD medication, and speak with therapists to build techniques to manage their symptoms. Everyone deserves to find their place in the workforce, and individuals with ADHD are just as capable of success as anyone else.
Author: Jennifer Walker