Neurodiversity is rarely considered in the workplace. People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, anxiety or depression can feel stressed and uncomfortable. Consequently they are less productive. Employers could be missing out by not considering neurodiversity in the workplace.
As many as one in eight people are neurodiverse according to an article in The Fifth Estate. COVID led to sterile environments. Offices removed their fabric coverings and other soft elements to make cleaning easier. But it makes spaces noisy, clinical and uninviting.
Even working from home isn’t the answer for everyone. Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you should. Long hours in a hard chair at the kitchen table isn’t optimum.
The article discusses colour, signage, the size and shape of spaces, textiles and plants. Even games such as Foosball tables have a place.
The solutions are in design of the office, the office culture and inclusive policies. When it comes to neurodiversity we have to ask, what is neurotypical anyway? Workplace designs that consider diversity are good for everyone.
There is more in this article titled, Considering neurodiversity to create better, more productive workplaces. The Fifth Estate also has an ebook for purchase, My (new) Happy Healthy Workplace
7 things an autistic person needs in the workplace are:
- No two people are alike
- Ditch the stereotypes
- Ask how we would like to be referred to
- Be open to having a conversation to discuss what works
- Be flexible to customise our working environment
- Help us maximise our strengths
- Provide us with opportunities to progress
Research on designing technology for neurodiverse users reminds us that this ends up being good design for everyone.
The Autism Research Starter Pack has strategies for including people with autism.