Understanding ADHD at work

By Jessica Pritchard on Monday, 13 March 2023

  • My name is Jess and I’m Creative Services Director at Teamspirit
  • I have ADHD
  • I’m writing in bullets as it’s faster and helps me keep focused
  • There are 3 main characteristics of ADHD – hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive
  • You can have one or more of these characteristics
  • The characteristics have negative connotations
  • Yet, harnessed correctly, can be an asset to a business
  • Hyperactive - we have bags of energy so thrive in fast paced environments, and being across lots of jobs with varying deadlines
  • Impulsive – we jump right in and can make decisions quickly
  • Inattentive – we’ll find the quickest / easiest route to solving problems
  • Results driven - if a task doesn’t give me a hit of dopamine then that’s it, you’ve lost me
  • I need efficiency – so no small talk or meetings over 30mins without an agenda / goal
  • Heightened justice sensitivity – we are drawn to companies / people with good values
  • Finding that professional sweet spot often takes years of test and learn
  • As a result, our career paths don’t tend to follow a traditional trajectory
  • If you didn’t know someone has ADHD, then that’s most likely due to their skill in ‘masking’
  • Masking is censoring my response to a situation
  • Masking everything requires a large amount of energy and concentration
  • I’d liken the feeling to trying to stop yourself from sneezing
  • Long periods of time masking results in physical burn out
  • Warning signs for burn out – disassociation, low energy, inability to ‘mask’
  • Just getting to our desks in the morning is a challenge
  • Environments with lots of noise & visuals stimulates our flight or fight response
  • To manage, I take prescribed amphetamines to feel calm, and use noise cancellation earphones
  • Working flexibly, like for many people, has changed my life
  • Pre-pandemic, and 5 days in the office, would mean I couldn’t physically move at weekends
  • I have a tendency to be to the point, interrupt or say something controversial
  • Whilst my communication style over the years has provided some great anecdotes, if a thought pops into my head and I don’t say it then and there, it will be lost to a million other thoughts
  • Non-neurotypicals need to be able to engage authentically in the workplace
  • More companies are seeing the advantages of hiring diverse talent
  • More diversity = more innovation and less groupthink
  • Which results in better work, happier staff, and who can forget - clients

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