With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many teams around the world to work from home, employee well-being has become more important than ever before. But have you stopped to consider the neurological needs of your employees?
In a world where we can’t see each other in the way we used to, we’re shining a light on something that is used to going unnoticed – and that is neurodiversity. Neurodiversity is the term used to describe differences in cognitive functioning that affect learning, thinking, attention and memory. Recognized types of neurological difference include dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism. While many employers are hot on the case of employee well-being, especially during our current climate, it can be easy for the neurological differences of employees to go unnoticed or forgotten.
Are you aware if any of your existing employees have neurological differences, such as dyslexia, or dyspraxia? Now is an opportune time to open up the conversation and ensure that your employees continue to feel supported while they work from home. This is also important to bear in mind when employing any new members of staff, especially if remote working continues to become part of our new working culture.
When asking your employees to work from home, it’s important to ensure that you are able to equip your staff with the tools and resources needed to carry out their job role from home as seamlessly as possible – and this includes support for any neurodivergent individuals within your organization.
So, what can you do to ensure your team is supported remotely?
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are aware of the different types of support that your team may need. Are you aware of any members of your team who are neurodivergent? A neurological difference such as dyslexia, for example, can very easily go unnoticed, so be sure to chat with your team about their needs. It’s vital that your employees feel comfortable voicing any concerns or needs that they have, especially during our current working conditions.
For those with neurological differences, asking for this support can be even more of a challenge, so it’s an employer’s duty to ensure they are doing all they can to provide support for their staff and make them feel part of an inclusive and supportive working environment – especially remotely.
While remote working offers plenty of benefits such as the ability to be more flexible with our working practices, it also can put our well-being at risk, as it’s arguably more difficult for employees to voice their concerns whilst separated from their team. So opening up the conversation with your team about their remote working needs as a whole, while also explaining that this support covers any neurological concerns, will set you off on the right track.
Doing this exercise will then help you to establish what you currently have in place. Do you have the tools available to meet the needs of your staff? Have your team raised any concerns that could be addressed further? Asking these questions will help you to identify key areas that can be improved upon, providing a solid foundation on which you can build.
Tech has evolved massively over the last few years to support the needs of neurodivergent people and continues to do so. From assistive work management tools like Ayoa to e-reader pens, text-to-speech software, spell-checkers and much more, there are numerous ways for employers to provide their staff with the tools they need to thrive in their roles.
So, how can you best provide your employees with access to these helpful tools?
Access to Work
For those in the UK, the Access to Work scheme is a fantastic resource to help you provide your team with the tools they need to carry out their work in the most effective way.
Access to Work is available for anyone in the UK who is already employed or about to begin a new job. Through Access to Work, those eligible for support can apply for a grant to cover the costs of any additional equipment, software, adaptations, or support worker services they may need in the workplace.
The Access to Work grant can offer up to £60,700 per person, and if an application is processed within the first 6 weeks of employment, your company is more likely to be reimbursed for 100% of the value of the assistance that is recommended in the report – meaning you can provide your team with the support they need at no cost to yourself of to your staff.
With it being estimated that 1 in 7 people are neurodivergent, it’s likely that over the course of your career, you are likely to employ someone with a neurological difference. It’s therefore vital for businesses to raise awareness of neurodiversity across their organizations and present themselves as an inclusive and supportive place to work. Many neurodivergent individuals possess unique talents in creativity and visual thinking, which can be invaluable when generating innovative and powerful ideas across your business. Take the time to understand the benefits that come with these skills, particularly when recruiting new talent.
It’s also incredibly important to make sure that any neurodivergent employees feel proud and unashamed of their differences. Be sure to highlight the creative talents that help them to stand out and shine, and most importantly, be active in providing them with the tools and support they need to fulfill their roles to their best standard.
Ready to provide your team with a tool to help boost their productivity, creativity and organizational skills? Ayoa combines Mind Mapping, Task Management and team collaboration features for teams to manage tasks and projects effectively, generate innovative ideas and communicate with ease. Ayoa is also an assistive software, approved by the DSA (Disabled Student Allowance), making it the perfect tool for teams all around the world.
To find out more about how Ayoa can help those with neurological differences, please visit our neurodiversity page for more information.
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