There are a variety of measures and adaptations that you as an employer can implement to make your workplace more neurologically diverse. Recognising neurodiversity is good practice and will benefit all their workers.
When planning and adapting your approach to hybrid working, ensure you give thought to how it can be adapted for neurodivergent staff. Educate yourself about neurodiversity and neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD, Asperger’s and autism to ensure they understand the issues arising for workers. They also need to be clear on their obligations – under the Equality Act 2010, but also on a broader social and ethical level.
Many of the adjustments that you can make to become a better and more inclusive workplace, will help neurodivergent staff, whether they are working in the office or from home.
Clear, logical rules and expectations are fundamental. All instructions and policies should be written and communicated clearly and accurately. Providing tools to help such as visual timetables, apps, printed copies.
Training is important, especially for managers. Neurodivergent conditions should be mentioned in harassment and bullying policies. This can help to minimise the risk of harassment and bullying of workers with conditions and ensure it is dealt with properly if it does happen.
It is useful to offer a relaxation space or quiet room in the workplace. Reducing sensory distractions, maximising natural light and enabling easy control of light and temperature can also be extremely helpful. Offering extra breaks to enable relaxation and time off when needed.
Reasonable adjustments for individual workers with neurodivergent conditions should be considered. Some may prefer to work more from home, while others may like the routine of coming into the office. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. Before implementing any changes, it is best to consult on what would work best for individuals. A disability Policy should also cover this
Hybrid working may lead to more hot-desking when people are in the office. This may be unsettling for some and employers should consider offering an allocated desk, to reduce the stress of finding a different desk to work from when in the office. The desk may be allocated in a quieter area of the office with minimal sensory distractions.
‘Access to Work’ funding from the government may be available for some of these measures.
If eligible, the worker would be offered support based on their needs. This may include a grant to help cover the costs of travel to and from work or practical support in the workplace. The workplace can include home if the worker works from there some or all of the time and is stated in their contract of employment.
The grant can help pay for services or items including new special equipment, workstations, software, disability awareness training for colleagues, a support worker or job coach to help in the workplace.