This week (5-11 October) is Dyslexia Awareness Week and with it estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia it’s important to understand that it is displayed differently person to person. Often perceived as having trouble with reading and writing, dyslexia can also cause problems with short-term memory and speed of processing information. As we work towards a more inclusive workplace it is easy to overlook those with dyslexia as it is a ‘hidden condition’. However, there’s simple adjustments you can make to your workplace, meetings and recruitment style which will help your dyslexic colleagues.
1) Use a shared calendar
Having a clear view of the work and projects the team is working on is useful to everyone but it especially helps those with dyslexia to manage deadlines and visually highlight meetings, specific activities and differentiate between functions in a team. As working from home becomes more common across businesses using shared calendars such as Asana can help keep all activities for a team in one place that is accessible for all.
2) Quiet working areas
Open plan offices have many benefits and encourage collaborative working, however, for those with dyslexia, and other neurodivergent conditions, they can have a negative impact on their productivity and ability to concentrate due to the sensory environment such as background noise and distractions. Providing quiet spaces for individuals to work benefits all staff and with the increase in home working offering work from home days can also help.
3) Access to both printed and digital materials
Although it may be difficult to provide the majority of work-related materials in a printed format ensuring you can provide the option is important. This may take the form of printing meeting notes or for new starters, offering a printed version of an employee handbook as well as a digital copy.
4) Team profiles
Help new starters to your team by providing a short bio of each team member covering their job responsibilities so they can refer to this when asking for help or guidance. Individuals with dyslexia often exhibit poor short-term memory so providing a printed chart of the team helps combat this.
5) Inclusive language on job adverts
Ensuring your recruitment process is inclusive is vital and this starts with the job advert. Make sure that you only list skills which are required for the role, dyslexic individuals could be put off if a role requires ‘excellent attention to detail’. The same rule applies for job titles, try and avoid using words such as ‘guru’ or ‘advocate’ as these can be seen as vague and do not necessarily describe the role which is on offer.