Why it’s important to understand and embrace neurodiversity at work

Every organisation needs to have approaches in place to properly recognise workplace neurodiversity, and embrace varied ways of working

In the UK, it’s estimated that 10 per cent of the population is neurodiverse. This catch-all term refers to a range of conditions, each with different needs including, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA), dyslexia, epilepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

Having a more diverse workforce featuring neurodiverse workers is hugely beneficial as they can bring more focus, different skills, creativity and innovative thinking. And according to data compiled by respectability.org, companies that began hiring people with disabilities saw their revenue increase by 28 per cent, profit margins by 30 per cent, and their net incomes double within four years.

But one of the most fundamental steps in understanding and embracing neurodiversity in the workplace is acknowledging that not all neurodiverse workers have the same requirements. For example, someone with dyslexia has very different needs than a co-worker with autism, so how can employers navigate this and put provisions in place that will help all their employees thrive? 

Through diversity, equity and inclusion policies that seek to embrace difference, support it accordingly, and accommodate those that don’t fit the 9-5 in-office mould.

>See also: Understanding the benefits and challenges of neurodiversity in tech 

Environmental evolution 

For some neurodiverse workers, sprawling open plan offices are difficult to navigate and excessive noise, smells coming from a kitchen or communal eating space, or especially bright lights can cause sensory triggers. One way that employers can get around this is by offering neurodiverse workers the option to work remotely so that they can control their working environment, and tailor it to their needs. 

Another way to support neurodiverse employees who are working in-office is to create spaces for deep work with no interruptions. This means private rooms where they can control lighting and temperature for example, and saying no to Zoom calls or in-person meetings during set periods of time. 


Offering remote working is hugely beneficial but real flexibility — where employees get to choose the hours they work or stick to a schedule that works for them, for example, starting at midday and working into the night — can be an invaluable asset to neurodiverse workers with ADHD, as they typically struggle to fall asleep so stay up later and sleep in more often. 

And while it might be hard for employers to get their heads around employees not sticking to the traditional 9-5 business hours and managing their own schedules, research has shown that employees with autism tend to achieve maximum output three years earlier than their neurotypical counterparts. 

So whether you’re a neurodiverse worker looking for a new role in a company that supports your needs, or you want to be part of an organisation that champions diversity and inclusion, visit the Information Age Job Board, which is full of opportunities, like the three below. 

UX Research Manager, Google Cloud, Google, London 

Google is seen as a leader on inclusion, and has committed to an Autism Career Programme. It has also scored 100 per cent on the Disability Equality Index for three years in a row. Its London office is currently hiring a UX Research Manager, Google Cloud to manage a growing team of UX researchers and quantitative UX researchers across different product suites. You’ll also be tasked with mentoring and guiding individual team members to develop and support appropriate career trajectories while driving a strategic research strategy that delivers deep user insights impacting product and roadmap planning and prioritisation. See the full job description here

Technical Account Manager, Adobe, London

Adobe has created Adobe For All, a diversity and inclusion initiative so that all employees can feel respected, included and supported. As a Technical Account Manager in London, you’ll build, develop, and maintain one-on-one relationships with strategic customers and while this is a technical role, you’ll also have a strong development/consulting/support background and validated customer-facing skills. If this sounds like the role for you, find out more details here

Senior Data Scientist, Innovation, Spotify, London

In February 2021, Spotify announced its “Work From Anywhere” model to further its commitment to hiring a more diverse workforce. The Senior Data Scientist, Innovation role is part of a product innovation team that is responsible for identifying user needs across global markets and building new product offerings to meet them. You will drive insights to inform product innovation in ambiguous spaces, building a deep understanding of users’ problems and turning data into insights that kick-start the development of new products. You’ll need five or more years’ of professional experience in data science or related fields as well as experience in identifying new product opportunities. Get lots more information here.

For more opportunities in companies with robust diversity and inclusion policies that have specific provisions for neurodiverse workers, visit the Information Age Job Board today 

A lifestyle journalist and editor for over 10 years, Aoibhinn Mc Bride has written for titles in Dublin, London, New York and Dubai.


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