As many as one in ten people are thought to be neurodiverse…
…and firms are being urged to adapt to accommodate members of this group.
Tapping into talent
Neurodiversity has joined LGBT, black and minority ethnic, and the disabled as a minority group worthy of special consideration at work and in education. Supporters argue that rather than disorders that need treatment, ‘neurominorities’ (including those such as Autism and ADHD) can add to the success of businesses. This is because different ways of thinking can offer unique strengths and skills.
Furthering this idea is James Hilton, chief creative officer at Native – a specialist industrial design studio. He suggests how “it’s been shown time and again that when a problem is given to a group consisting of 99% neurologically identical people, the solution is more often than not provided by the 1% neurological outlier. That outlier may well be considered disabled or disadvantaged most or all of the time.”
In other words, neurodiversity could prove vital when it comes to solving problems and coming up with new ideas. Surely this philosophy is therefore important for businesses that want to stay ahead of the game.
What does it mean to be neurodiverse?
According to the CIPD’s ‘Neurodiversity at Work’ report, neurodiversity can be defined as “the biological reality of infinite variation in human neurocognitive functioning and behaviour, akin to ‘biodiversity’ in the natural world. The term ‘neurodiversity’ is now also being used to describe the fast-emerging sub-category of workplace diversity and inclusion that focuses on including people who are neurodivergent”.
Autism UK offer a more simplified definition, suggesting that neurodiviersity “represents the variety of human brains and minds” which is “an essential and natural form of human diversity”.
Workplaces that cater for diversity
Arguably, for businesses to be “neurodiversity smart’ they should develop an acceptance of brain differences, and celebrate and leverage the unique strengths that can come from alternative ways of thinking.
Steps that could be taken to be accommodating of neurominorities include: being more flexible when it comes to recruitment and interview practices, maintaining office noise levels and ensuring that individuals have access to aids for personal organisation such as filing drawers and trays.
Clever workplace design can help to bring out the best in team members, regardless of working style and preference. For example, individual desks can cater for those that prefer to complete tasks independently and acoustic booths can aid individuals that like to work with reduced noise levels.
Here at Interaction, we’re firm believers that a flexible and agile workplace, and one that reflects the unique nature of individuals, is the key to success. Variation in thinking and working style should be seen as an asset, rather than a hindrance – and that’s why each and every one of our projects caters for people’s various day-to-day demands.