How Leaders Can Help Employees With ADHD Succeed In Remote Work


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How Leaders Can Help Employees With ADHD Succeed in Remote Work

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Imagine stepping into a maze of winding paths, hidden traps, and the tantalizing lure of success just around the corner. This is the corporate landscape for you. Now imagine that you are traveling through the same maze on a unicycle. The paths become more difficult, the traps turn into gaping abysses, and the goal seems far away. These, my friends, are the workers with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) that we deal with on a daily basis.


recent survey, which analyzes the challenges and triumphs of 1,008 workers with ADHD, sheds light on this issue. The survey is like a powerful flashlight, illuminating hidden corners and detailing how these workers are faring, especially in the uncharted territories of remote work.

RELATED: 5 Superpowers People with ADHD Can Use to Become Better Entrepreneurs

Scary set: Remote work poses challenges for workers with ADHD

Think of the daily work life of a person with ADHD as a boxing match. Every hit, every dodge, every round won or lost is a new challenge or victory. Now add remote work to this picture. It’s like giving an opponent an extra glove. Same Skinova’s research shows that remote workers with ADHD find their daily tasks 17% more difficult than their counterparts in the workplace. The challenge is no longer a simple match; it turned into a team fight with hidden opponents and unforeseen tactics.


But then the plot thickens like a detective novel with an unexpected twist. Remote workers with ADHD are 54% more likely to struggle with impulsive control than their workplace counterparts. The temptation to be distracted for these people is akin to a child who is sent to a candy store when all the goodies in the world are at their fingertips. The task is sticky, sticking with the tenacity of chewing gum on a hot pavement.

So what’s the secret ingredient to creating an ADHD-friendly workplace? The answer is as simple and enjoyable as adding whipped cream to hot chocolate – flexible schedules. Imagine a night owl not limited by the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule, but spreading its wings freely when it is at its most alert and productive. That’s the beauty of flexible schedules, which 64% of employees with ADHD have chosen as their top benefit for how jobs can help people with ADHD.

So, ironically, teleworking correlates with more challenges in daily tasks for people with ADHD and serves as a solution, providing more flexibility. With nearly two-thirds of people with ADHD choosing flexibility as the most important benefit to addressing ADHD in the workplace, it seems the benefits of telecommuting outweigh the costs.

Indeed, this is what the reviews of my clients find when i help them in return to office transition and flexible hybrid work Politicians: People with ADHD, fatigue, brain fog, and a range of other conditions are more likely to be more flexible in their schedule and place of work than those who do not suffer from these conditions. However, Skinova’s survey highlights an issue that I haven’t given enough thought to, which is whether people with certain conditions, such as ADHD, might benefit from more support for impulse control issues.


The Good Point: Career Development and ADHD

ADHD may seem like a roadblock, but Skynova’s research highlights that it’s not a career killer. Imagine being stuck in traffic during rush hour—congested, slow, but not stagnant. Progress is slow, but progress nonetheless.

Many hybrid (74%) and on-site (68%) workers admit they have grown in their career despite ADHD. It is like how a small seedling grows into a mighty tree despite the stony ground. Meanwhile, 61% of their distant colleagues share this opinion, although with somewhat less frequency.

The numbers depict a powerful story, much like a thrilling romance. A whopping 58% of employees with ADHD express satisfaction with their career choice. They are satisfied diners in a restaurant, full and satisfied with the food of the career options offered to them.

Balancing: Creating a Favorable Environment for Workers with ADHD

It’s time to turn our attention to corporate maestro organizations. Here, the picture is of a mixed bag of popcorn that ranges in flavor from savory to obnoxious. On the other hand, four out of 10 employees with ADHD play a harmonious tune, declaring that their company or manager finds the right response in creating a supportive environment.


Remarkably, two-thirds of these corporate tightrope walkers believe they have grown in their careers despite juggling. This is a testament to their resilience and determination. However, 39% say that their ADHD sometimes acts like an overly cautious GPS, limiting their travel by offering safer, albeit longer, less rewarding routes.

In some cases, ADHD is more than just an obstacle—it’s like a mountain on the way. More than a quarter of workers with ADHD have tasted the bitter pill of being fired, with 21% suspecting their ADHD was a factor. It’s like being punished for a blizzard when all you did was forget your winter boots.

Related: Benefits of a Positive Work Environment

Cognitive Distortions: The Invisible Puppeteers of the ADHD Narrative

Just as a puppet is controlled by the invisible strings of its puppeteer, our perceptions and decisions about ADHD and remote work can often be manipulated by cognitive biases. These cognitive prejudice can distort our understanding and influence our decisions, like the autocorrect feature that sometimes corrects us in the wrong way.

Confirmation bias is like the picky eater at the buffet who chooses only the foods he likes and ignores everything else. This cognitive bias causes us to prioritize information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and discard any evidence that disproves them.

In the context of ADHD and telecommuting, confirmation bias can lead us to focus exclusively on the problems that people with ADHD face. We might be more inclined to view ADHD as a barrier given only a 17 percent increase in daily tasks for remote workers with ADHD. We may be overlooking the part of the Skynova study that tells us that a significant percentage of workers with ADHD (65%) have managed to advance their careers despite the hardships. Or that 64% prefer flexibility as the best way companies can help solve the problems of people with ADHD. It’s like ignoring the exciting dessert section of the buffet because we’re too fixated on the sushi counter.

In the workplace, supervisors and colleagues can also succumb to confirmation bias, interpreting the actions of employees with ADHD through the lens of the preconceptions. For example, a worker with ADHD who forgets a deadline may be seen as “irresponsible”, reinforcing negative stereotypes about ADHD. In doing so, we lose sight of the unique strengths and potential of these individuals.

Related: “The E Word: Why You’re Afraid of It and Why You Should Embrace It Instead”

gap in empathy it’s like standing on the edge of a wide canyon, unable to get to the other side because we can’t cross the divide. This bias refers to our difficulty in understanding the experience of others, especially if it differs significantly from our own.

In a world of remote work, a lack of empathy can lead to a lack of understanding and support from colleagues with ADHD. For example, people without ADHD may find it difficult to understand why a remote environment creates additional problems for their ADHD colleagues. It’s like trying to figure out why someone might be afraid of heights if you’ve never climbed higher than a step stool.

They may not understand the intense struggle with impulse control that their distant counterparts with ADHD experience. As a result, they may inadvertently make decisions or judgments that further exacerbate these problems. For example, a manager may schedule virtual meetings one after the other without realizing the challenge this can present for an employee with ADHD who may need short breaks between tasks for optimal concentration and productivity. Indeed, the second most frequently cited benefit, after having flexible working hours for people with ADHD, was that employers encouraged breaks when needed, which 44% of respondents named.

To counteract these cognitive distortions, it is essential to create an atmosphere of open conversation and learning about ADHD issues. Understanding these biases as a reflection of our thoughts in a mirror is the first step to making our decisions and actions more inclusive and supportive of all employees, whether they are roaming the corporate maze from an office cubicle or at their home desk.

Conclusion: a call for adaptation and understanding

To sum it up, working remotely with ADHD is like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube on a roller coaster – exciting, challenging, and certainly not for the faint of heart. However, with the right modifications, such as flexible scheduling, the rollercoaster can be turned into a scenic train ride – still exciting, but now manageable and even enjoyable.

An office, physical or virtual, should not resemble a battlefield where survival is the only goal. Instead, it should be a sandbox where everyone can play, build, and thrive. So, let’s remove the obstacles and fill the sandbox with tools and toys that will allow everyone to build their best sand castles. After all, a castle is at its most majestic when built by many hands.


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