ADHD in the Workplace - For Employers


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ADHD friendly version: Read bold print only.

October is both National Employee Disability Awareness and ADHD Awareness month in the United States. With ADHD being oftentimes portrayed within media in a light that isn’t truly reflective of the lived experience of many ADHDers it makes sense as to why employers may not understand how to best accommodate individuals with ADHD in the workplace.

Though there is space for grace for employers there is also a need for a lot of R&R and I’m not talking about rest and relaxation, but rather reflection and researching.  Before I get ahead of myself let’s get into it! 

Below are things to think about, and tips ‘n tricks for people leading, managing, and supporting employees with ADHD, and other neurodivergent diagnosis’.  Are you somebody with ADHD seeking accommodation tips? Head to the link listed next to this to see tips on advocating for self as an ADHD employee.


I labeled the section employers of people because of the reality that many individuals with ADHD are part of what we in the neurodivergent community refer to as the late diagnosis club.  Not only are some people diagnosed late, but many people are never diagnosed, unfortunately. I say unfortunately due to many of the exacerbated struggles that are faced by people that are not allotted the ability to receive the community, accommodations, or support that I believe is necessary for people to survive with a decent quality life, and especially to thrive with a diagnosis such as ADHD. 

  • Oftentimes a higher number of women, Black and brown people, folks from rural areas, and people who are poorer are among the individuals diagnosed late and or never. This reality is important to note due to employers needing to have workplaces designed in ADHD-friendly capacities prior to having people who are on paper diagnosed with ADHD showing up to the workplace. 

  • Not only is there a lack of diagnosis of ADHD in marginalized communities, but there is also the reality that some individuals are apprehensive to report their ADHD diagnosis on applications for job and school opportunities due to fearing the backlash that could stem from an employer.

  • Employers need to do research on what is going on in the brain for many individuals with ADHD, and how the things that are going on within the brain relate to an individual’s potential behaviors and or quirks in the workplace.  
  • For example, time obliviousness, misplaced objects, and accident/mishap proneness are some of the things that many individuals with ADHD struggle with.  This oftentimes shows up in many people with ADHD’s daily lives, not excluding the workplace; some of these behaviors, quirks, and habits and can be viewed as carelessness at times if an employer doesn’t even attempt to understand what is going on with the employee.

  • Understand that all people with ADHD are different, just like all people of any other classification or group ever. Though many ADHDers struggle with similar things, we share many similarities related to strengths as well all, though again, ADHDers do not come one size fits all.  The accommodations that one individual with ADHD may need doesn’t necessarily mean that another employee with ADHD would also need that same accommodation.
  • There are three primary subtypes of ADHD diagnoses - hyperactive, inattentive, and combined.  There are also

    high chances of variations in an employee’s ADHD due to the reality that 50% of people with ADHD have a comorbidity of some type.  

    Alexis’ Definition of Comorbidity: Having multiple diagnoses (2 or more) and or the lived experience of two diagnoses even if not able to get diagnosed 

    1. Having to ask for every little thing as an accommodation is likely to make someone with ADHD apprehensive to request. Though people with ADHD are known for having a lot of energy and being talkative, though this can be totally not true for some ADHDers, something many people don’t know about is rejection sensitivity dysphoria and how this shows up heavily within many people who have ADHD.  

    The intense fear of rejection and its impacts on communication with employers can be a severe problem if there aren’t modes of communication in place for employers to allow employees to communicate in various ways.  Even then, people may fear utilizing this due to the backlash that could stem from submitting questions or thoughts, it is on employers to find ways to ensure that employees feel safe and protected, understood, and genuinely heard when employers seek out feedback.  

    It takes a lot of energy to put into sharing things for people who oftentimes deal with emotional regulation impacts so to feel as though one is utilizing a lot of energy to share something for “no reason” is likely to also lessen the chance of an employee with ADHD regarding opening up.

    While the tips and things to think about above are important, they are not the says all be all to understanding how to best accommodate employees with ADHD.  Ensuring that the way your workplace and work functions are designed are as user-friendly as possible for disabled and neurodivergent employees, and ensuring that you are leading people with an open and constantly growing mind, and heart is the key takeaway from this message due to ADHD not being a one size fits all reality in neither the workplace nor everyday life.

    Feel free to utilize these tips to implement new strategies or think about things in a new way for your current and future employees with and without ADHD.  For more AD your homie with ADHD content follow me on Instagram at this link, or connect with me on LinkedIn at this one!