Thinking differently at work


In 2018 GMB launched – thinking differently at work – a toolkit on neurodiversity in the workplace including a model employer policy on making the world of work more inclusive. 

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is the idea that there are natural differences in the way that people think and process information.  

Today, those differences are given labels such as autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia.  

The term also recognises both the difficulties that people who have these conditions may encounter in the workplace and the unique strengths that can come from thinking differently.  

Collectively people who are, for example dyslexic or dyspraxia, can also be referred to neurodivergent. 

At least one in ten working-age adults, are neurodivergent in some way. 

Why is it a workplace issue?

Neurodivergent Workers, (people who think differently, for example people dyslexic people) often have significant strengths that can bring real value to their workplace. 

Unfortunately, most workplaces and working practices are not designed to be inclusive of people with these natural differences in thinking and processing information. This can create big barriers to neurodivergent people doing their job, which in turn can lead to discrimination, stress and even job losses. 

As with all workplace issues, no worker should have to shoulder burdens alone. GMB believes that the most effective response will always be on a collective level. This toolkit and materials are intended to be used to both support representating individual workers and to campaign to make the workplace more inclusive for everyone.  

The Toolkit

The toolkit includes 3 main documents.

Neurodiversity in the workplace, dyspraxia in the workplace and the law and neurodiversity at work. 

They contain key information and advice on:

  • A brief introduction to diagnostic labels, including dyslexia and ADHD  

  • Good employment practice and Neurodiversity and the law  

  • Getting an assessment, diagnosis or disclosing a neurodivergent condition to an employer 

  • Reasonable adjustments, Access to Work and other official schemes  

  • Tools for reps including a checklist,  model letter to employers and a model neurodiversity employer policy 


Neurodiversity Toolkit

Dyspraxia Toolkit

Neurodiversity and The Law Guide

What can reps do?

Reps already play a vital part of supporting neurodivergent members in the workplace and fighting for reasonable adjustments.  

However, this can be a long and stressful process for members where there is no agreed time limits or processes in place. Also, not all neurodivergent workers have had a formal diagnosis or may not have disclosed to their employer  that they are neurodivergent, for fear of discrimination. 

To be effective, policies need to be in place at an all company level,  so that all workers know they will be supported . GMB Reps are in an important position to ensure neurodiversity is on the bargaining agenda, to get employers to sign up to the Thinking differently at Work policy. The resources in the toolkit above are available for reps to use. 

Want to get involved ? For more information or to request the toolkits in another format please contact the equality and inclusion department on equalityinclusion@gmb.org.uk or your regional equality officer

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