ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can present unique challenges in the workplace. Medication is a common part of managing ADHD symptoms, but sometimes people may face difficulties in accessing or affording their prescribed ADHD medication. They may also feel the impact of having to switch medications when functioning at work.
Given the current national shortage in the UK for many ADHD medications, what can you do to support your colleagues?
Initially, understand that if they are struggling to get hold of ADHD medication, they are likely to feel anxious and this may affect other conditions, such as depression. It may also impact on their performance and contributions to the team.
Encourage open communication
The first step is fostering open communication. Encourage your colleague to discuss their ADHD and any challenges they may face, including medication access. This will help you better understand their needs and concerns. Be clear that you want anyone who is worried or struggling to reach out to you for support.
Be patient and flexible
ADHD can make it difficult to stay focused and organised. If your colleague is struggling due to a lack of ADHD medication, be patient and flexible with deadlines and expectations. Offering additional support and understanding can help reduce stress and anxiety. Think about additional short-term measures that might assist.
Offer workspace adjustments
Creating an environment that minimises distractions can be particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD. If possible, provide your colleague with a workspace that is quiet, well-organised, and away from high-traffic areas. Noise-cancelling headphones or white noise machines can also help.
Ask what else might help them at this time and keep any adjustments under review to ensure they are working for your colleague.
Set clear expectations
Clearly define tasks, priorities, and deadlines. Visual aids, such as to-do lists and calendars, can be especially useful for someone with ADHD to stay on top of their responsibilities. Discuss these strategies with your colleague to see which ones work best for them. Do they need more help right now in prioritising tasks and with admin, for example?
Encourage breaks and movement
People with ADHD often benefit from regular breaks and physical movement. Encourage your colleague to take short breaks to recharge and refocus. Suggest walks or other physical activities that can help improve concentration. You could also think of ways to get the whole team involved—fancy a steps challenge?
Managing ADHD can be emotionally draining. Encourage your colleague to prioritise self-care. This might include getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and engaging in stress-reduction activities like meditation or yoga.
Actively encourage journaling so that they can monitor how they are feeling emotionally and physically—this is a journal you can use for your team to help them thrive at work. ADHD: an A to Z by Leanne Maskell is another excellent resource.
Advocate for ADHD medication options
If appropriate, support your colleague in finding alternative ADHD medication options or accessing resources to help them obtain their prescribed medication. When there are shortages and finding medication is difficult, they may find the whole process overwhelming. Having someone help them source medications from different pharmacies and come up with a plan if they are unable to is important, so they do not feel alone. In some cases, employers may offer benefits that cover part of the medication cost and other sources of medication.
Create an inclusive work culture where differences are celebrated and accommodated. This not only benefits individuals with ADHD but also the entire team. Make sure everyone understands the importance of diversity and how it contributes to a thriving work environment.
Educate yourself and others
Take the initiative to educate yourself and your colleagues about ADHD. Understanding the condition and its challenges will lead to greater empathy and support. Share resources and information on ADHD to raise awareness within your workplace.
Signpost to support
Check in with anyone who might be struggling and see what support they have. Does the company offer something they can tap into? Have you got access to coaches or therapists they can access?
Supporting colleagues with ADHD when they are struggling to access medication is an opportunity to create a more inclusive and compassionate workplace. By fostering open communication, flexibility, and understanding, you can help your colleagues with ADHD thrive in their roles.
Remember that a supportive and inclusive work environment benefits not only individuals with ADHD but the entire team, contributing to a more successful and harmonious workplace.
It’s a very stressful time right now for so many people due to the lack of certainty. Let’s be kind and support one another.
At Thrive Law, we focus on understanding how everyone works best rather than dictating how to work best.
We can help you create a thriving environment by working together to develop Licences to Thrive and gaining a deeper understanding of your employees and teams. Let’s break down the barriers and foster inclusivity in the workplace.
We also provide employer training on embracing neurodiversity, and training across staff and managers to increase understanding and support in the workplace. And I am delivering a workshop on neurodiversity and leadership in partnership with Brightlink Learning early next year. Head over to our Events page to find out more.
Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on email@example.com.
This blog was prepared with assistance from Generative AI.