Neurodiversity and remote-work in times of crisis: lessons for HR

Joanna Szulc, Frances-Louise McGregor, Emine Cakir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – The rich qualitative study builds on 11 semi-structured interviews with nine neurodivergent employees and two business professionals supportive of neurodiversity to understand the lived experiences of dealing with crisis in a remote working environment.
Design/methodology/approach – The purpose of the reported research is to understand how neurominorities experience remote working in the times of crisis and what the implications of this are for human resource (HR) professionals.
Findings – Moving to remote work resulted in a lack of routine, distractions and working long hours, which can all be difficult for line managers to monitor. Further problems with communication in a virtual environment and lack of understanding by others were found to be particularly burdensome to neurodivergent individuals. On the positive note, remote working in the times of crisis allowed for avoiding sensory overwhelm and was seen as an important step in creating a healthy work–life balance (WLB).
Practical implications – The findings of this study point HR practitioners’ attention towards building a more neurodiversity friendly post-pandemic workplace and prompt employers to offer working arrangements, which better suit employees’ domestic and personal circumstances.
Originality/value – This study addresses the lack of research on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on neurominorities. In doing so, it answers recent calls to move away from universal HR as a route to positive employee outcomes and facilitates a more accurate reflection of organizational reality for disadvantaged members of society.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalPersonnel Review
Early online date24 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Dec 2021

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