Surveys by CPID indicated that 10 per cent of the UK population is considered to have a neurodivergent condition. With the unique strengths that those who are neurodivergent can bring to the workplace, more needs to be done to support neurodiversity at work.
Neurodiversity refers to the natural range of differences in human brain function. Amongst employers, it’s become the term used to describe alternative thinking styles ranging from ADHD to autism to dyslexia. Recent statistics show that roughly 1 in 100 people is on the autistic spectrum – meaning there are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK alone. There are 6.3 million people in the UK with dyslexia and an estimated 1.5 million with ADHD.
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By reducing the stigma, individuals who are neurodiverse will not feel like they need to 'mask' their symptoms to avoid appearing different. This can be extremely tiring and stressful to maintain on a daily basis.
Neurodiverse conditions can have unique strengths for individuals when nurtured too. These range from data-driven thinking to sustained focus over long periods, an ability to spot patterns and trends, and the capacity to process information at extraordinary speeds.
While a growing number of businesses offer different kinds of support to employees with neurodivergent conditions, it is also essential to create work cultures where people feel comfortable discussing their needs and differences.
This is where employers and managers can play an important role in reducing the stigma in the workplace through training around neurodiversity. Below we highlight three key steps to reducing neurodiversity stigma in the workplace:
First step: Be a role model for neurodiversity at work
There are times when a quick walk is the best way to take a mental break from work - and that is ok. The best way to show employees their well-being is essential is to lead by example. When employees see their managers and leaders normalising behaviours that help themselves, this can encourage employees to listen to their own needs and empower them to adopt healthy habits. Also, talking about the importance of work-life balance and chatting about activities that are not work-related can act as a reminder to rest and pursue outside passions.
Second step: Create an inclusive, supportive workplace where everyone feels comfortable asking for help
Your organisation's managers and leaders will be instrumental to your diversity and inclusion efforts. Research shows that diverse workplaces are more successful than homogenous workplaces regarding productivity and work satisfaction. Managers need to receive expert support, tools, and resources to help them build inclusiveness into their daily work routines. Providing high-quality, ongoing well-being training to managers helps them – and the workplace as a whole – successfully create an inclusive culture.
Third step: Ensure employees have access to well being support and mental health training benefits
Offering comprehensive support or occupational benefits makes it easy for employees to access appropriate support quickly. Demonstrate that your company is not only willing to make a symbolic gesture of support but that you are invested in making a tangible difference in employees' health and wellbeing.
Why should you consider Onebright for employee mental health training?
Whether you are a small company or a large corporate employer, we can provide targeted, bespoke training for any part of your workforce. With our robust, clinically-led remote training, taking the proper steps to manage issues within the workforce can save your organisation money from absenteeism and staff turnover while investing in the wellbeing of your employees.
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