5 Things ADHD Employees Want Managers to Know
Jess Hines, Chief Blogger
What’s often just as difficult as managing these symptoms is communicating these challenges to managers or team members. Only half of adults with ADHD are able to maintain a full-time job, compared to 72 percent of adults without ADHD. As with any mental illness, there is still stigma surrounding ADHD, but maybe communication in the workplace is a good start.
So in celebration of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Mental Illness Awareness Week, I’m here to set the record straight to #CureStigma.
I can really hone my creativity if I’m given a bit of direction.
ADHD is often linked to creativity, and personally, it’s one of my biggest strengths. I love brainstorming, and I find myself speeding away with endless possibilities. But sometimes I need some guard rails.
If I’m given a project with no clear direction, I’ll come back with a book titled “1001 Ways to Creatively Approach This Project,” but no finished project. Which is great, because now I have a collection of ideas for everything under the sun, but I didn’t deliver on the task.
This direction and this structure might seem limiting or might seem like micromanaging, but to me, and most people with ADHD this structure actually unleashes the power of my imagination. It seems counterintuitive that my creativity blossoms in rigidity and organization, but once I’m given boundaries, I’ll thrive within them.
Sometimes a traditional work schedule and a traditional workspace aren’t the best for me.
The typical 9-5 schedule in an open office might not yield my best work, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to opt out of doing my work—I’m just asking for flexibility.
Like most people with ADHD (roughly 67 percent), I find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, it takes a bit for my brain warm up. It also doesn’t help that I have a terrible sense of time and sometimes get lost in what I’m doing, so I’m prone to chronic lateness (I promise I’m working on this).
It’s also hard for me to work in an open office setting, because everyone else’s conversations seem to be way more interesting than whatever I’m doing. There are times I might hole myself up somewhere or turn my headphones up to avoid distractions, but please don’t think I’m neglecting my work—I’m just trying to find a space that helps me focus.
There are some nights I bring my work home because even with the help of medication, I had difficulty getting it completed at the office. I experience “bursts” of productivity throughout the day, regardless of time or place, so this is when I get most of my work done.
Join us this week in helping to #CureStigma and visit NAMI's website to check out more ways to get involved for Mental Illness Awareness Week and general information on mental health issues.
Published October 9, 2018.
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