Ways to Support Your Coworkers With ADHD v1.0

Respect the headphones, please.

What is ADHD?

Scientific explanation

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.

Simple words

ADHD is a common condition that makes it hard to focus, keep still, and think before acting. Some people with ADHD mainly have trouble with focus. (This is also known as ADD.) ADHD can also impact other skills, including managing emotions.

Be proactive in talking about mental health

People with ADHD thrive in environments where they can talk openly about the challenges they face. Our best allies are coworkers who are willing to create safe spaces for us to do so. That environment can be created if everyone takes steps to normalize discussions around mental health in the workplace.

Proactively discussing mental health and emphasizing its importance to the team can help create an accepting and open workplace

Be mindful of workflow interruptions

Having protected, uninterrupted time to work is crucial for people with ADHD. While some people can rebound from distractions, people with ADHD can find them especially challenging.

Ask us what we need

More often than not, people with ADHD are already aware of the accommodations that would be most helpful for them. (But if they’re not, have them research reasonable workplace accommodations.)

All you need to do at that point is ask! Listening when we name our setbacks and challenges — and being open and flexible about how to solve them — can be a powerful moment of solidarity. Asking your ADHD coworker how you can help not only lets them know you care, but it shifts the culture of the entire workplace.‍

Keep your expectations clear

Clarity is key to workplace success for ADHDers. When we find ourselves procrastinating or struggling to complete a task, it’s usually because we lack clarity on how to move forward. This can be prevented by creating SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based), and having consistent deadlines and checkpoints to keep us on track.‍

Consider Buddying up

Work with a manager or colleague who is well-organized and can help guide you through projects from start to completion.