What is it like to work with an employee with ADHD?

Everyone has a colleague who is hardworking and smart, but who is easily distracted and highly disorganised. You may be tempted to think that this person has a poor attitude or is simply lazy. However, it is also possible that your colleague has ADHD.

Do you know what ADHD is?

When suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, people experience a mix of symptoms like impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness. Sometimes individuals have a mild form and only their concentration is affected (ADD). Other times they experience the full range of symptoms.

The bad news is most of the people aren’t diagnosed until late adulthood.

ADHD image 22How can you collaborate with an employee with ADHD?

You need to adapt your approach

You need to ask them what training or working style better suits their skills. By treating them equally with the other members of the team, you make them feel included and at ease. They will then openly share what works better for them. Offering written instructions helps them remember the tasks they have to complete. Extra training is also effective in helping people with ADHD keep up with the rest of the team.

You need to adjust the workplace

ADHD patients work best in quiet and private spaces. By reducing the disruptions the other employees might generate, productivity can improve significantly. Office noise and workplace activities can easily distract them, so you should delegate individual tasks that they can complete in their office. Another solution is to offer noise-cancelling headphones. You should also establish regular breaks for the entire team, it will help them maintain their creativity and focus.

Everyone should support them

Ensure the measures you take to accommodate an employee with ADHD do not affect the others’ motivation and productivity. All team members should do their best to build strong relationships. Taking part in training sessions that describe the effects of the disorder can help everybody in the workplace understand and figure out how they can work together.

Offer your support

When managing a team with one or more employees with ADHD, you need to show that you understand and support them. The company should offer access to dual diagnosis treatment, because often individuals living with ADHD feel discriminated, which can lead to anxiety or even depression. You should focus on the strengths these employees have. Support them, as you would all your employees, so that they can reach their full potential.

ADHD can affect time management

People with ADHD often find time management a challenge because they are easily distracted. Sometimes, this may affect performance in the workplace. It is your role to be able to estimate how much work each employee can handle, including those living with ADHD.  Frequent check-ins will remind them of deadlines. It will also motivate them to manage their time more effectively.

Employees with ADHD influence team dynamics

When managing a team, effective collaboration is essential. Sometimes, an employee with ADHD is not aware of their ability to distract other people through their talkativeness. They have extra socialisation skills that can affect your entire team if not used properly. Bear in mind that employees with ADHD work more effectively and successfully with individual rather than team tasks.

You should not assume that an employee is suffering from ADHD before consulting an expert. A worker who is no longer motivated in the workplace, or simply doesn’t like his or her job, may behave in a similar way.