How to address ADHD in the workplace

by Nicola Middlemiss17 Sep 2015
As ADHD diagnoses are on the rise, many employers will have to address the situation at some point – here, one expert told HC Online how leaders can not only support workers with the disorder but help them thrive too.

“Employees with ADHD can be a tremendous asset to a team,” stresses Dr. Kristen Lee Costa, of Northeastern University – but this doesn’t mean employers should just sit back and let them struggle.

Creativity and progression

“It is important to know that when someone has ADHD, they are likely to thrive off of stimulation and engagement, and often make great leaders,” reveals Costa, who specializes in the subject.

“Knowing this, it is important to try when possible to keep them involved in progressive endeavours, and letting them put their creativity to good use,” she adds. “Mundane tasks and attention to insignificant details can be a bore for anyone, but especially someone with ADHD.”

Clear communication

Of course Costa recognizes that challenges are a likely possibility but insists open communication and clear expectations can help prevent some of the issues that might occur.

“Ensuring deadlines are clearly carved out is important,” she adds.

Office environment

“It can help to pay attention to work spaces,” suggests Costa. “Making them as distraction free as possible and encouraging employees to get up and move around.”
Costa also told HC Online that encouraging employees to walk around and take short breaks during the day – both of which can help facilitate better focus and productivity.

Work culture

Luckily for HR professionals, Costa says the suggestions she makes could actually help every employee – whether they have ADHD or not.

“Most of us struggle with ADD/HD tendencies in today's busy pace – with so many things vying for our time and attention – so what we do for someone who identifies
with ADHD is really also quite useful for everyone!”

Famous examples

ADHD is common in all industries –  here are some famous names who have the condition:
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Sir Richard Branson
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Will Smith
  • Michael Phelps
  • Jim Carrey

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