Approximately one in eight people identify as neurodivergent, with many adults still being misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

It’s normal and wonderful that people have brains that function differently to one another.

We believe that understanding this and adapting work environments to suit varying needs is a key step to ensuring a truly inclusive organisation.

Things to consider to make your organisation more inclusive of NeuroDiverse Individuals:

1. Job Applications

Offer multiple ways to submit a job application.

A person with dyslexia may prefer a phone call. On the other hand, an autistic person may not be able to properly read social cues over the phone, so could find the format challenging.It’s worth including a section in your application for candidates to share their preferences.

2. Interviewing Processes

Offer a distraction-free environment for the interview, or allow people to interview via video conference to help reduce their anxiety or discomfort.

In the interview, devalue body language such as eye contact.

It’s also important to give people a chance to correct themselves if they misspeak, or to take a break and return to an interview question after they’ve had time to process it.

When hiring, the worst thing you can be is quick to judge. It can lead you to dismiss talented candidates for superficial reasons.

3. Creating an Enabling Workspace

A common characteristic of the neurodivergent mind is often heightened sensitivity to sensory input.

Making these minor changes to the environment can help:

– Design your workspaces with quiet areas or concentration rooms.

– If you can, avoid using fluorescent lighting or bare-bulb lights.

– Make use of plants to create a more soothing, productive, and stress-free environment.

– Put clear signage in place to help your employees orient themselves more easily.

– Give people options such as ergonomic seating, standing desks, or other assistive equipment.

4. Policy Design

– Communicate important information, big changes, or instructions clearly and via at least two different mediums — written and verbal.

– Have a policy that allows the use of noise-canceling headphones (and even music!)

– Offer exceptions to a hot desk policy.

– Give people the option to work from home, on a flexible or full-time basis.

– Allow people to take breaks as they need them, rather than at a designated time.

– Create an allyship programme, or include neurodiversity in your existing DE&I program.

5. Embracing the Strengths of NeuroDiverse people

You may find some Neurodiverse individuals are exceptionally talented in some areas, but struggle in others.

Taking a strengths-based approach is one of the most important ways you can have a big impact on a neurodiverse employee’s experience at work.

If you would like to learn more about how to make your organisation more inclusive, check out our Bridging the Gap Taster Training sessions below.