With hybrid and remote working arrangements becoming increasingly common, employers can take an inclusive approach to help employees with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder feel more engaged and productive, says Dr. Marie-Hélène Geoffroy, a family medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic Canada.

“ADHD needs structure and remote working requires individuals to manage their own schedule and tasks, which can be really challenging for employees with [this issue].”

A recent survey by digital medicine company Akili Inc. found two-thirds (65 per cent) of U.S. employees with ADHD agreed that accomplishing day-to-day work tasks while managing their symptoms poses a moderate to significant challenge. Respondents cited struggles such as being easily distracted (59 per cent) and a lack of focus and engagement (56 per cent).

Read: 2022 Mental Health Summit: A look at the incremental cost of ADHD in the workplace

While employers are seeing more employees on ADHD medications when reviewing their benefits plan’s drug claims, medications aren’t always enough, says Lianne Clarke, principal and vice-president of wellness, disability innovation and growth at Cowan Insurance Group. Workplace accommodations, she adds, can help to get the most productivity out of employees with ADHD.

When establishing these accommodations, occupational therapy is a good way to narrow down employees’ individual needs, says Dr. Geoffroy, noting solutions could be as simple as providing standing or walking desks and fidget toys to allow for more movement during the workday. Some employees may need a quiet environment — and may be better suited to working from home — while others may need headphones to cancel out noise or listen to music to focus.

It’s also important to provide employees with the opportunity to take frequent breaks, she adds, noting time management resources, such as project management tools, are also beneficial to help them plan their day. These employees may also do better with smaller, bite-sized tasks, as well as clear and specific instruction and concrete deadlines.

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“Too often, people dismiss ADHD as something that only affects children, but it’s a very real condition for adults that can affect their performance in the workplace,” says Clarke. “The more employers understand the condition, the more employees will feel comfortable talking to their leaders when they’re having issues with productivity.”

Inclusive leadership is key to helping employees with ADHD find success at work, regardless of whether they’re in office or working from home, says Arla Day, a professor in occupational health psychology at Saint Mary’s University.

Regular check-ins with employees can help them to maintain focus, she notes. “It’s easy to write someone off as easily distracted or unmotivated when leaders notice they’re having issues with finishing a task. That’s why it’s important to remove stigma surrounding neurodiversity challenges by building up awareness in the workplace.”

Educating employees on the prevalence of ADHD and its symptoms is critical to dispelling misconceptions, says Dr. Geoffroy. “It will help co-workers understand this issue and help them be more empathetic and supportive of colleagues. It also just helps bring people together to build a stronger, cohesive team.”

Read: How KPMG is recruiting, supporting employees with disabilities, neurodiversity