The back of a woman at a desk in an office and two men standing further back talking

Being neurodivergent and navigating the workplace

Our colleague Becky McNutt explores neurodivergence in the workplace as part of Neurodiversion Celebration Week


  • Time to read: 5 minutes

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a great initiative to raise awareness and amplify the voices of neurodivergent individuals. It presents an opportunity to raise conversations about being more inclusive and supportive of differences, and to keep these conversations going beyond the one set week.   

Navigating the workplace as a neurodivergent* employee can be challenging. I didn’t find out I was neurodivergent until I was in my 20s and had already been in full-time work for a year, so it was a learning curve to discover what worked for me and made sense for my unique brain.  

Most workplaces and structures are designed to work in a way which suits the neurotypical majority, which can make it difficult for neurodivergent employees to play to their strengths. Neurodivergent employees bring a rich and diverse range of talents to the workplace such as innovative approaches to problem-solving, exceptional attention to detail, hyperfocus, and strong passion for areas of interest. 

At Tutor Trust, we have policies in place for our office-based colleagues such as hybrid working, flexible working hours, and have a culture where we can explore different ways of working so we can work productively. During my time at Tutor Trust, I’ve worked with some easy tools and adjustments which I’ve found useful for managing my work environment. 

Productivity Tools   

These are useful for me to manage my time, keep track of deadlines and multiple priorities, break down tasks, and keep me focused. I’ve split my use of productivity tools into two sub-categories: task management and focus tools: 

Task management tools 

Platforms such as Todoist, Trello, and Asana allow me to created detailed to-do lists, set deadlines, and priorities tasks, with features such as recurring tasks and collaboration options. They’re useful for project management, with customisable project views and timeline visualisation. My favourite is Trello as it’s very visual and uses boards, lists, and cards to track tasks and workflows. Plus, it’s fun to tick things off as you go! 

Focus tools 

Platforms such as Forest and Freedom help me to minimise distractions and maintain focus. Forest is a mobile app that lets you ‘plant’ a virtual tree during the focused work periods. As you stay focused, the tree grows- which is useful for helping me stay off my phone. Freedom is a website and app blocker, allowing you to temporarily block distracting websites and apps across multiple devices. Being able to customise my block lists for focus sessions which align with my productivity goals for whatever I’m doing makes this flexible: I use it a lot in both my work life and personal life. 

Another way to stay focused is the Pomorodo technique. Work is broken up into (typically) 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. This helps break down large tasks into more manageable chunks and feel easier to approach. Regular breaks are essential so you can rest and recharge, helping to prevent burnout and maintain mental freshness throughout the day.  

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

People may be worried at the thought of using AI, but used in the right way, can help make some of the challenges neurodivergent people may face in the workplace easier. Many of the productivity tools discussed already use AI features, but I’ve recently started using more AI in my role and have found it hugely useful.  

Structuring text copy 

I’ve used Open AI’s ChatGPT in my role to generate a basic structure for longer form text (including this blog post!). This helps to break down a large task into smaller tasks- no more blank page panic! 

Accessibility features and tools 

Auto-captioning for videos, screen readers, and predictive text input can enhance accessibility and are often built into the software and apps we use every day. Speech-to-text or text-to-speech software also can help with verbal communication or written language processing, as well as reduce concentration fatigue.  

ColourVeil is a free screen colour filter which you can download on your deskop for free and use over any application. It’s useful for those with dyslexia as it helps to reduce eye strain and enhance reading. You can even adjust the colour and opacity to suit your preferences! 

Sensory adjustments 

Adjusting your environment (where possible) is key to improving wellbeing and productivity as a neurodivergent person. Offices, and even home or online working spaces, can often be loud, distracting and overstimulating. Bright fluorescent lighting, constant background noise, regular interruptions to routine and so much more can all come together to make workspaces overwhelming. 

Although this is part of a larger conversation that employers should have with their staff, some smaller measures you can put in place today could be wearing earplugs to block unnecessary noise, speaking to your line manager about switching off your camera during large meetings, or playing ambient music or white noise to mask distracting sounds and create a more conducive work environment. 

Responsibility beyond the individual 

Creating a workplace that allows for flexibility, autonomy, and personalised accommodations should be a priority for every workplace. It can benefit all employees but also provide crucial support for neurodivergent individuals in the workplace. An employer can put small measures in place to help, such a providing clear written requests rather than verbal instructions, circulating agendas in good time of all meetings, providing advance notice wherever possible and setting clear deadlines are all useful ways not only to promote clarity and efficiency for all employees but also create a more inclusive culture of understanding and support. 

Ultimately, embracing neurodiversity in the workplace at the individual and organisation-wide level helps to ensure sustainable productivity and wellbeing, supporting every colleague to do the best they can and feel supported in doing so. 

*In this blog, I use ‘neurodivergent’ as a blanket term and there are many experiences that fall under this term. This speaks mainly to my own experiences and may be different for others.  

A pupil is smiling and looking eagerly at the tutor during a tuition session.

Register for tuition with us

Find out more how we can work together with your school to create impactful tuition for young people

Register your school for tuition

Read more