Mark McCusker, CEO Texthelp

Neurodiversity in the workplace

Just like life outside, the workplace is a hugely diverse environment. Everyone’s different, with their own ways of dealing with information and getting things done.

Just like life outside, the workplace is a hugely diverse environment. Everyone’s different, with their own ways of dealing with information and getting things done. You’ll meet the auditory processors, who prefer to hear things spoken rather than written down. You’ll meet the mind-mappers who process and plan visually. And you’ll meet the steady scribblers who stick to good old note-taking.

‘Diversity’ comes in other forms, too. No less than 10% of the population experience some form of dyslexic difficulty. In several professional sectors – like healthcare, blue light services, the creative arts and engineering – that figure climbs higher still. Across the UK, meanwhile, 30% of doctors and 40% of nursing staff speak English as a second language.

We’re firmly in the era of the digital workplace.

Yesterday’s typewriters, flipcharts and handwritten memos have been swept away by PCs, emails, office apps and Google searches.

Technology helps us work smarter, faster and more efficiently. But the explosion of digital devices brings with it challenges of its own, sometimes hindering the very people it’s meant to help.

Sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day is a frequent source of eye-strain and headaches. And in today’s litigious corporate environment, even the simple mis-keying of an email can have costly repercussions.

What’s more, there’s a clear linkage between conditions like dyslexia – where individuals struggle in silence or fear the stigma of ‘disclosure’ to their peers – with stress, lowered productivity and absenteeism. And that’s an unwelcome cost burden that no organisation wants to shoulder.

Success stems from realising your workforce’s full potential, in all its diversity.

And that means making each worker feel empowered, motivated and engaged.  Today, that’s why organisations in the public and private sector are turning to support technology to give staff the individualised support they need. Investing in technology is great for staff – and it’s great for business too. 

Three quarters of organisations providing their staff with support technology report improved productivity. What’s more, support technology in the workplace means a 50% drop in sickness absence. So providing the right tools to help people maximise their potential is a win/win for employers and staff alike.

As a leader in Assistive Technology, at Texthelp we’ve been giving people a literacy boost in all walks of life for more than twenty years.

Text-to-speech lets employees hear documents read aloud – great for proofing an important document. Predictive text helps you express yourself eloquently, intelligently making word suggestions. Colourful highlighters make it easy to mark and gather together key parts from a lengthy report into a succinct summary. And with a couple of clicks, documents can be turned into MP3 files for relaxed listening when you’re out of the office. And there are special functions to help employees with dyslexia, like a tinted screen mask that makes words easier to read.

Let’s imagine a digital workplace where support technology is openly available to help everyone, letting them access and process information in the way that suits them. And let’s imagine a workplace where every employee is supported and understood, free from the fear of being labelled ‘different’ from their peers.

The Equality Act of 2010 puts an obligation on employers to make reasonable adjustments for staff who need them. But why stop there? Do you want to be a digital follower? Or do you want to go the extra mile and promote best practice to the direct benefit of everyone in your organisation?


Want to know more about how today’s tech can boost neurodiversity in your own workplace? Visit our dedicated resource area for hints, tips and useful information


Niamh Kane 31/07/2018 16:54:44
Great aid for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis with central sensitization of the nervous system theres a hypersensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch, over exposure leaving us post exertional malaise and post exertional neuro-immune exhaustion. Texthelp could really help when we suffer crashes and have to stay in a dark room for long periods of time, minimal auditory becomes bearable if you're only listening to one noise. I think TextHelp will be very useful to our community thank you.




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