ADHD Impact: Society for Human Resource Management

Excerpts from Understanding the Impact of Employees with ADHD in the Workplace
By Pamela Babcock, Feb 4, 2009, for the Society for Human Resource Management

…“There are times no matter how hard I try to work nothing is going to happen, but I think there are times when I can accomplish so much more than most people,” [Valerie] Christensen says.

A couple of months ago, Christensen’s company began allowing her to work an alternate schedule. Her workday is now broken up into two four-hour blocks—she spends mornings at the office and works late evenings at home. The schedule was originally implemented so Christensen could spend more time with her children. But it has had a positive impact on her productivity as a marketing/media professional with ADHD. …

“My boss and I have discovered I am much more focused as a result of having less time at the office to work with,” Christensen says. “I literally accomplish in my half-days at work close to what I used to in a full, eight-hour stretch.”

Legal Issues to Consider

Any request for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act should come from the employee, not the employer. If you believe that an employee is not performing well—for any reason—Eisaguirre recommends asking: “Is there anything that I’m doing or that anyone else is doing here at work that’s interfering with your success?”

Careers that Work

Individuals with ADHD can certainly be successful. …

Dr. David Whitehouse, chief medical officer for Santa Ana, Calif.-based OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, says employees with ADHD should avoid jobs that require constant attention to details and minutia and should opt for jobs that require high energy and intelligence. …And because employees with ADHD frequently need more sleep, giving a senior executive with ADHD a 40-page report to read the evening before a major decision-making meeting is probably not a good idea. “Under that kind of deadline pressure working late at night, they are probably not going to do well,” Whitehouse adds.

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SHRM is the leading professional organization for human resource managers.