The option of remote work has opened many doors for neurodivergent individuals. This way of working has many benefits for our community, but it can also have downsides if the proper accommodations are not considered. That being said, the benefits outweigh the negatives, and this is especially true if employers have the right tools and mindset to support their neurodivergent employees. 

Learn How They Best Communicate 

The best way to support your neurodivergent employees is to learn which way they best communicate. This means having a conversation with them and seeing if they prefer video calls, phone calls, email, messaging, or a combination of communication methods. Knowing this can ensure that both of you can better connect and collaborate during projects and tasks. Everyone will prefer one way over another, and as a leader, you must figure out what your team needs to work at their fullest potential. Accommodating their preferred communication method can help neurodivergent individuals feel welcomed, heard, and included. 

As for communication styles, some neurodivergent people thrive on honesty and directness and might miss out on subtle cues or avoid making assumptions. Being transparent and trusting each other can help build bridges and keep goals and expectations clear in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Provide Flexible Scheduling

One of the biggest benefits that remote work provides neurodivergent individuals is access to a flexible schedule. Everyone will have different times when they work best, and this allows neurodivergent individuals to work at their own pace and however they are comfortable. As a leader, it could be wise to provide this flexibility and be mindful of the benefits it can provide. Giving your employees space and time to work can lead to higher productivity and more impactful results. 

Offer Technology and Tools to Help 

One significant way you can support your neurodivergent employees is by offering a range of technology and tools to help them work at their best. These could include options such as voice recognition software, captioning, screen readers, and other supportive technology to help your employees complete their tasks. This extra support can benefit many and show that you are listening to their needs.  

Make Sure Feedback Is Effective 

Working remotely means that you can’t go back to someone’s office if you misheard something or have a question. So, when you are providing feedback to neurodivergent employees, and really any employees, while remote, ensure that it is clear and structured. Many of us in the community prefer to be spoken to directly instead of with fluff or filler, as it can make it confusing and difficult to decipher. Additionally, accommodate for processing time. This means that when you ask questions or ask for feedback yourself, be patient when expecting answers or even consider following up with written directions. 

Provide Training and Education 

Lastly, and most importantly, provide training and education to your leadership staff and your team members. Even if you are not in an office setting, it does not hurt to offer training to raise awareness about neurodiversity and its challenges and strengths. You want to foster a team environment of understanding and empathy. Additionally, ensure you have an open dialogue with your neurodiverse employees to ensure they feel comfortable and safe enough to come to you with possible concerns or improvements in the work environment. 

There is so much you can do to support your neurodivergent employees, and if you want to learn more or have me speak at your workplace about topics such as this, contact me!