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July 10, 2020

Why you should be offering Access to Work support to your team

by Louise Cunnah posted in Neurodiversity.

Ayoa | Why you should be offering Access to Work support to your team
If you’re an employer, you have a duty to provide your staff with the help they need, so they can do their job to the best of their ability. In the case of a neurological difference, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or autism, some of this support can be provided by the government’s Access to Work scheme if you’re a business based in the UK. So, what exactly is Access to Work and how can it provide your neurodivergent employees with the confidence to achieve more?

You might not realize it, but some of your most creative, talented, and hard-working employees may be neurodivergent (meaning they have a neurological difference like dyslexia or dyspraxia). Yet despite the fact that 1 in 7 people (over 15% of the UK) are estimated to be neurodivergent, this is something that isn’t discussed enough – and many employers probably aren’t aware of the neurological differences some of their employees may be struggling with day-to-day.

Neurological differences can affect memory, concentration, and the ways in which we process information. However, neurodivergent people tackle problems from unique perspectives and look at the world differently, which brings great advantages to any workplace. When given the right support and tools to overcome the challenges they face, they can develop the confidence to achieve great things!

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is run by the UK’s Government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and is available to employees with a disability, mental health condition or neurological difference who are already in employment or about to start a new role. It can provide them with any additional support they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and this could be in the form of equipment, software, support worker services, or any adaptations to your workplace that you’re unable to provide. In the case of employees with neurological differences such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or autism, this could be providing them with access to assistive technology.

Access to Work is a grant of up to £60,700 per employee to cover the costs of the support they need. This obviously comes at no cost to the employee – and if the grant is processed within their first 6 months of employment, your business is more likely to be reimbursed 100% of the value of the assistance provided. However, the Access to Work application process needs to be completed by your employee.

Why offer this support to your team?

As a short answer, every employer is required to provide their workforce with the support they need. If an employee has a disability, neurological difference, or mental health condition, it’s vital that you make “reasonable adjustments” to help them in the workplace. One example includes providing a special keyboard for a worker with arthritis.

Although not every individual will feel comfortable revealing that they are neurodivergent and struggle with certain tasks (or they may feel that it isn’t important to mention – which certainly isn’t the case!), you should still be taking steps to find out if any of your employees are affected by a neurological difference, so you can identify what you can do to help them. For new starters, this should be worked into the onboarding process.

Although this will help you to fulfill your basic duty of care as an employer, being proactive by talking to your employees about how they feel and openly offering this help will make them feel supported and know that you care about their health and well-being. This leads to them having more job satisfaction and being less likely to move onto a company that they feel will be better able to support their needs.

Another important reason you should be offering Access to Work support in your workplace? It can boost workers’ confidence to succeed and achieve their goals. By providing them with tools to put them on a level playing field with their neurotypical peers (those without a neurological difference), they can focus on the things they excel at, rather than feeling they are being held back by the tasks they find more difficult. As an example, though those with dyslexia often struggle with reading, writing, and spelling, they are great problem solvers as they’re incredibly creative. They have an expert eye at spotting patterns and understanding the big picture; both of which are vital skills in the workplace.

Each neurodivergent individual is different and has their own unique talents; so, give them the support to shine, and they will do so with ease!

Ayoa, our assistive software, is the perfect tool for helping neurodivergent individuals conquer their daily struggles and do what they do best – think creatively. Plan work and brainstorm ideas in visually stimulating Mind Maps and manage task deadlines in Task Boards and a personal Planner. Our tool is also perfect for neurotypical employees who want to plan projects, collaborate with others, and keep track of their workloads with ease!

Try it for free today and see how it can help every member of your team to achieve more.

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