In today’s fast-paced world, many professionals are openly embracing the concept of working from home, and this trend has escalated due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced many companies and employees to adapt to resourceful work setups.
Sometimes, a remote work setup can be a good thing for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For one thing, there are no noisy cubicle co-employees or coworkers who love to tap your shoulder to distract you from work.
But to get your work done at home, you need to have good focus, organization, and time management skills. Unfortunately, all these may be in short supply when you have ADHD.
A structured workplace, plus motivation from your boss and coworkers, can help you make up for all these shortfalls in the office. At home, you are on your own. This means you need to learn how to self-direct and self-motivate.
In this article, we are going to explore specific challenges faced by individuals with ADHD when working from home and a few tips individuals can follow when they are Working from Home with ADHD.
Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Imagine you are trying to write complex code and solve the problem in front of you. You are focused on solving the problem, but suddenly you are thinking about things such as “Did I close the door when I left home?” “Will I succeed in life?” “Am I going to change the world? And “ Will India ever win an ICC Championship ever again?”, and the list of questions goes on. The thoughts and questions you keep asking can be random, and ultimately you end up wasting your valuable time.
You keep asking these random questions to yourself, and the main task you had to do is still pending. This is what it means to have ADHD.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties in sustaining attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It affects both children and adults, and its symptoms can significantly impact daily functioning, including work performance. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with maintaining focus, organizing tasks, managing time efficiently, and avoiding distractions.
Challenges of Working From Home with ADHD
1. Unable to Avoid Distractions
The home environment is filled with distractions such as household chores, family members constantly talking, pets, or even you, who are unable to stop scrolling down the social media lane. Or thinking you would be watching only one episode of Ted Talks, and three hours later you are still watching and scrolling.
Yes, I do agree that distractions do help us to deal with a difficult reality, but you have to be too cautious about distractions if you have ADHD especially when you are working from home. Otherwise, your priorities don’t get done and you dive into the spiral of shame, worries, and fear of the unknown.
Keep reminding yourself of the importance of the task in front of you.
2. You are always Unmotivated when you have ADHD
Do you always find yourself, staring at your computer screen or notebook while asking yourself questions such as “Do I want to do this task?”. If you do, don’t worry, anyone who is going through ADHD usually has self-doubts and is mostly demotivated by his/ her actions in the past or present.
Let me tell you one thing, your motivation is not the problem, and being unmotivated is merely a symptom. You are unmotivated because you don’t have enough stimulation.
You have to learn how to manipulate stimulation as it’s the key ADHD success skill, especially for remote working employees.
People with ADHD often depend on external stimulation to stay focused and start a task, and let’s face it, working alone at home is far less stimulating and motivating than working from the office. Ironically, the background noises and the energy of your co-working employees help you stay focused.
So, how can you get yourself motivated to work when you are sitting alone at home? You take advantage of one of the biggest strengths of ADHD, getting started with work.
For most of us, we all keep going with the task when we get started. There is no turning back, and when we get serious with our tasks, we are hyper-focused on completing the work.
Lack of structure and routine when working from home
Working from home often requires more structure and routine than a traditional office provides. This can be particularly challenging for individuals with ADHD, as they thrive on predictability and routine to maintain focus and productivity. Without direct supervision and the accountability of coworkers, people with ADHD may struggle with self-motivation and effective time management. Procrastination and difficulty prioritizing tasks can become major obstacles to productivity.
Unable to create an ADHD-friendly workplace.
This is one of the biggest ADHD Working From Home challenges.
ADHD adults often struggle to work remotely from their bed, sofa, or dining room table. Not having the right workspace can be depressing and can completely stop productivity. You may have created a workspace, but have you considered whether or not it’s the right workspace for you? And will it assist you in being productive? At home, try to move around the house as often as possible. If you are getting bored working at the desk , try to work near the dining table or vice versa.
Working from home with ADHD can lead to isolation and less social interaction.
Working from home can lead to social isolation, which may negatively impact individuals with ADHD who mostly thrive on interactions and external stimulation. Motivation from peers and timelines helps individuals with ADHD to be focused, and if that’s removed when you are working from home, it can lead you to be unmotivated and not focused on work. The lack of face-to-face interactions and collaboration can affect the overall work satisfaction and well-being of people with ADHD.
Closing thoughts To summarize, working from home offers flexibility and convenience, but it can be particularly challenging for individuals with ADHD. By knowing and understanding the unique struggles and challenges of working from home with ADHD, individuals with ADHD can develop strategies that can help them work. With the right strategies and support, individuals with ADHD can successfully navigate the world of remote work and achieve professional success.