Opinions

ADHD in the Workplace

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is commonly perceived as a brain disorder which mainly affects children. The latest research indicates that ADHD still manifests itself into adulthood. The symptoms in childhood versus those in adulthood vary. This disorder can have everlasting effects on workplace success.

When employees identify that they have ADHD and adapt to their symptoms accordingly, they are more likely to perform better at work. Adults with ADHD need to minimise distractions as much as possible. This may not always be as easy since offices are fast-paced, noisy and busy. The constant phone calls, SMSs and influx of emails can easily distract us from the task at hand, making employees less efficient. In this regard, it would be useful to adopt some habits which help minimise these distractions. If for example, you work in an office, it would be ideal to close the door to minimise interruptions. If you work in an open plan environment, it would be ideal to ask to have your desk in an area which is less active. This could be complemented with headphones to help you block the surrounding noise. Switching off alerts such as phone, email and text messages would also be ideal. You can set a ten-minute window every hour to check for such notifications.

One of the problems that adults with ADHD face is a relatively short attention spam. They may have difficulty in maintaining concentration for less interesting tasks. On the other hand, people with ADHD are known for being able to heavily focus on something which they deem interesting. The decreased attention spam impacts the ability to listen and when this happens during meetings, the following results are not good. Here, it would be ideal to break down projects and tasks into different stages, to be achieved over a pre-defined time span.

Organisational and memory skills related problems are also issues for people with ADHD. This impacts time management which is extremely crucial in the workplace. The consequences of not achieving objectives and failing to meet deadlines can have severe consequences. In order to address this, it is ideal to always take detailed notes in meetings and use planners/reminders to help you keep track of upcoming deadlines.

ADHD diagnosed children are normally hyperactive, and this manifests itself as restlessness and edginess in adults. This makes it difficult to relax and creates feelings of dislike at sitting down and focussing on the job. To tackle this, it is important to schedule periodical breaks where you can have a walk to diffuse the tension.

Managing ADHD in the workplace is by no means an easy task, but it is not impossible. With a few tips and a strategy in place, adults with ADHD will succeed in their career.

Not enough people realize that ADHD is not a disorder about loss of focus. It is a disorder of loss of emotional control, which is triggered by outside influences, self-esteem and our interpretation of events. Whether this is positive or negative it triggers us to hyper focus on what consumes our thoughts. Staying positive is critical and distancing oneself from hurtful people is essential, in order to live a life with purpose.”
Shannon L. Alder

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