ADHD Accommodations in the Workplace: Step-by-Step Guide

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ADHD Accommodations in the Workplace

ADHD accommodations in the workplace can help those who struggle with the disorder to be more productive and successful at work.

There are many different types of accommodations for ADHD at work, depending on the individual’s needs. Some common ADHD accommodations include adjustable work hours, a designated workspace, and reduced distractions. 

By understanding what work accommodations are available, employees with ADHD can identify strategies that will help them thrive in their careers. For example, an employee with ADHD may benefit from having a designated workspace where they can focus on their work without distractions. Or, an employee with ADHD may need flexible work hours to accommodate their need for breaks throughout the day. Understanding what accommodations are available can help employees with ADHD find strategies that work best for them and help them excel in their careers.

What Are ADHD Accommodations in the Workplace and Who is Required to Accommodate in the Workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The law applies to private companies with 15 or more employees, as well as employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor committees. State and local government employers must also comply with the ADA. 

To be protected by the ADA, an individual must have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity. Major life activities include walking, talking, seeing, hearing, breathing, sleeping, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. Individuals who have a record of a disability or who are regarded as having a disability are also protected by the ADA. 

To qualify for an accommodation under the ADA, an individual must be able to show that he or she needs an accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may include making facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities, providing assistive technology, modifying work schedules, or making other changes to the workplace. 

Employers are not required to make accommodations that would create an undue hardship for the company. Undue hardship is defined as an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when compared to other businesses of similar size and resources. 

Having ADHD does not necessarily mean you qualify as having a disability, which requires:

  • you have an impairment
  • Your impairment substantially limits you in one or more major life activities

When can you legally request an accommodation?

  • You can request accommodation at any time during your employment
  • Should request accommodation when you know you’re struggling with workload and it’s directly relating to your ADHD
  • Should request an ADHD accommodation BEFORE your performance is compromised significantly.

Benefits of Accommodations for ADHD at Work

For many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), work accommodations can be a game changer. By making simple adjustments to the workplace, employers can help employees with ADHD thrive. 

For example, reducing distractions by closing doors or providing a quiet workspace can help those with ADHD stay focused. Similarly, clear and concise instructions can help employees with ADHD stay on task. In addition, flexible work schedules can allow employees with ADHD to better manage their time and energy levels. 

By implementing just a few of these accommodations, employers can greatly improve the performance of employees with ADHD.

More Benefits of ADHD Accommodations…

  • better job retention
  • higher attendance
  • lower turnover
  • work quality
  • better job performance
  • better safety records

Costs of Accommodations

There are many possible accommodations that could be made for someone with ADHD at work. Some of these accommodations might include allowing the individual to take breaks more often, providing a quiet work space, or giving them flexible deadlines. The costs of these accommodations will vary depending on the specific needs of the individual and the policies of the workplace. 

However, making accommodations for employees with ADHD can be beneficial for both the employee and the employer. By accommodating the unique needs of employees with ADHD, businesses can create a more inclusive and productive work environment. In addition, accommodating employees with ADHD can also help to reduce absenteeism and improve job performance. Ultimately, making accommodations for employees with ADHD is an investment that can pay off for everyone involved.

Step-by-Step Guide to ADHD Accommodations in the Workplace

Are you in need of accommodations for ADHD at work? Are you unsure how to go about requesting them? Fear not, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make the best accommodation request possible. Keep in mind, every situation is unique and these steps may not fit your specific needs, so always consult with a supervisor or human resources representative to figure out what is best for you.

First and foremost, it is important to understand the definition of reasonable accommodations. According to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “reasonable accommodations” are defined as changes or adjustments to a job that allow an employee with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. This includes things like changes to the work schedule, modifications to equipment or seating arrangements,

☐   1. Before you ask your manager for ADHD Accommodations at work, you need to first get an official diagnosis from your doctor – This isn’t the only requirement for an accommodation. ADA requires an “impairment” to qualify for accommodations, but you first need a diagnosis.

☐   2. Review our  list of ADHD accommodations and determine which will help you improve your productivity and performance at work.

☐   3. Send communication (letter or email – Sample Accommodations Letter for ADHD) to your human resources department requesting an accommodation based on your medical diagnosis. Copy your immediate supervisor, manager, or boss.

☐   4. Meet with your boss or manager to discuss accommodations. – Be flexible and compromise when necessary. This should be a win/win for both you and your boss and your company as a whole.

☐   5. optional – set additional meeting to review performance after accommodation trial period.

Below are examples of reasonable accommodation in the workplace with corresponding functional limitations of ADHD.

Reasonable Work Accommodations for ADHD at Work

ADHD Tardiness and Time Management

Time management is one area where people with ADHD often struggle. They may have trouble planning ahead and staying organized, which can lead to missed deadlines and a feeling of being overwhelmed. 

Luckily, there are a few things that people with ADHD can do on their own to improve their time management skills. One is to use a daily planner to keep track of upcoming deadlines and appointments. Another is to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. 

    Whatever accommodation you request, be sure to explain how it will help you overcome your tardiness and be more successful at work.

      ADHD Forgetfulness – ADHD and Working Memory

      One common symptom of ADHD is difficulties with working memory, which can make it hard to follow instructions, keep track of tasks, and remember details. In the workplace, this can be a major challenge. 

      However, there are some work accommodations for ADHD that can help. For example, breaking down instructions into smaller steps or providing written copies of information can help ADHD employees to better process and retain information. 

      Similarly, simplifying workflows and eliminating distractions can also improve working memory. By making some adjustments, employers can help their ADHD employees to better thrive in the workplace.

        Staying on task with ADHD Work Accommodations

        Any individual with ADHD knows how difficult it can be to stay on task, especially in the workplace. If you have ADHD, you may find it difficult to concentrate, organize your thoughts, and finish tasks. You may also be easily distracted and impulsive. 

        For instance,

        • you may benefit from a sit/stand desk which allows you to move around while working.
        • create a visually organized workspace with clearly defined areas for different tasks. 
        • regular breaks
        • reduced workload may also help you stay on track. 
        • mentor or accountability partner can also check in with you to keep you on task.

        Stay Focused with Distraction Free and Quiet Work Environment

        Making a distraction-free work environment is essential for productivity. There are many ways to accommodate an employee who needs this sort of space.

        • allowing employees to work while listening to music (with headphones) or using noise canceling headphones,
        • setting up an office or isolated area within the company’s building
        • offering remote working options several days each week so they can focus without being interrupted by other people around them all day long.

        ADHD and Fidgeting to Focus

        Fidgeting is a common symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and it can often be a source of frustration for both the individual with ADHD and those around them. 

        There are many work accommodations for ADHD that can be made to help minimize the impact of fidgeting in the workplace. For example, many people with ADHD find it helpful to have a small stress ball or fidget toy to keep their hands busy. Similarly, some people find it helpful to stand up or pace while they work. Others may need to take frequent breaks to move around and release excess energy. 

        The standing desk is a great way to accommodate an employee who needs more movement in their workday. Those of us with ADHD find that when we can fidget we are more productive.

        ADHD and Organization

        Staying organized is a struggle for those with ADHD. Companies can tools such as white boards, organizational apps, calendars and task reminders for employees to help them stay organized at work.

        • Color Coding: multi-color pens, highlighters
        • Create email and electronic folders to stay organized

        Prioritizing Work and Tasks

        Request 1:1 regular daily meeting or informal check-in with supervisor to establish priority list for the day/week.

        How to Ask for Work Accommodations for ADHD

        Reflect on your job responsibilities and determine what accommodations you would like to request. Determine a clear reason why an accommodation is needed. Some accommodations you may not need to actually request, but implement yourself such as utilizing timers for task, or calendars for meeting reminders.

        Gather your documentation about your diagnosis and be prepared to share it with your manager/boss.

        Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your skills, job responsibilities, your diagnosis and your potential accommodations. Discuss a temporary time frame to utilize an ADHD accommodation and evaluate the effectiveness for you personally as well as for your team as a whole.

        Reiterate the benefits of accommodations for ADHD at work to your boss/manager. When you’re more productive and successful, it’s a success for your boss and entire team.

        ADHD Accommodations at Work Conclusion

        Many people with ADHD struggle to succeed in the traditional workforce. However, there are a number of reasonable accommodations that can be made to help people with ADHD succeed at work. 

        For example, employees with ADHD may need flexible work hours, a quiet workspace, or frequent breaks. While these accommodations may require some additional effort on the part of the employer, they can make a big difference in the productivity and satisfaction of employees with ADHD. In the long run, making accommodating the needs of employees with ADHD can save businesses time and money.

        Here are ADHD-Naturally, we find solutions to managing ADHD outside medications.  For more alternative ways to manage ADHD naturally, browse our managing ADHD in Adults posts.