Neurodivergent Friendly Office Tips
Offices are truly a neurodivergent nightmare and they are the reason I freelance. I know not everyone has the luxury of working remotely so all of these neurodivergent friendly office tips may not be relevant to everyone (but what else is new when it comes to neurodivergent life tips?)
Having autism, ADHD, or both has its difficulties in the workplace, and while I’m not the one to come to for advice for handling a boss who seems illogical to you – I do have plenty of ADHD work survival tips. Below are some of the things I keep in my desk or use to help me function in my
Please be aware that the following post includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases. This helps support my work so I can keep bringing you NeuroSpicy content to help spread the spicy word.
Neurodivergent Desk Necessities
Simply getting through the day can be an uphill battle if you’re neurodivergent. Here are some neurodivergent friendly office necessities for your desk that help me (mostly) survive.
- Welgo LED Digital Alarm Clock
Every neurodivergent should have a bright, easy-to-read clock on their desk. I love this digital clock because its bright colors help me actually remember the time. Typically, I check the clock only to promptly forget what time it was. That happens much less often since I added this to my desk. Plus, the fun colors are a nice little dopamine boost too.
Emotional Support Water Bottles
Perhaps the most important thing you need to keep your desk hacked for ADHD is a water bottle. Without one, you will forget to drink water all day and that’s just neuronaughty (and not the fun kind.) Maybe you already have an emotional support water bottle that you take everywhere for that exact reason. But if you’re looking for an upgrade, here are some of my favorite water bottles:
- Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Insulated Tumbler with Lid and Straw
The Stanley Quencher is a great option if you want to just fill your cup and not have to deal with refills. It comes in 14 oz., 20 oz., 30 oz., and 40 oz. options and thanks to double-wall vacuum insulation, your drink will stay cold, iced, or hot for hours. That means no icky room-temperature water flavor. Yes it may look huge but this tumbler still fits in most standard cup holders! It also comes with a splash guard and multiple flow options so it works for straw drinkers as well as sippers.
- Tronco Glass Tumbler With Straw and Silicone Sleeve
This pretty glass tumbler with a protective silicone sleeve is a staple for me. I sit at a desk for much of the day so I use my water bottle as a time-blindness coping mechanism. Since my ADHD medication tends to make me thirsty, I’m not prone to forgetting to drink water all day. By using a water bottle this size, it ensures I stand up every once in a while to refill it. It’s 20 oz. size is perfect so I don’t feel like I’m constantly refilling it while still drinking enough throughout the day. I tend to like silicone products as they’re usually a Good Texture – definitely a factor in why I have consistently loved this cup for years.
Neurodivergent Office Supplies
Office supplies are at the core of many of my ADHD and autism coping mechanisms. I would lose everything including time from my day and the thoughts from my head if I didn’t have certain things nearby.
- Paper Mate Gel Ink Pens
These have been my favorite pens for years now. I have arthritis, ADHD, and autism – all things that can occasionally make gripping things difficult. I love how wide these pens are and that they’re a bit softer and squishier than most pens. The ink also flows so nicely on the paper, with none of that hard, carving feeling some pens can have (IYKYK.) Writing things in different colors also helps me remember things better so the color variety here is also a big plus. Only downside: the ink does take a second to dry and absolutely will smudge on your hand if you’re not careful.
- Bright Sticky Notes
For a neurodivergent friendly office, you’re gonna need some color. Sometimes, even the most organized to-do lists and best of coping mechanisms still aren’t enough. That’s why I also use brightly colored sticky notes in addition to my notebook system. If there’s something urgent that needs to be done or I think of something that needs to be done while I’m working, I write it down on a sticky note. The bright colors make it harder for the note to slide into object permanence and this helps fewer things fall through the cracks.
- Steel Mill & Co. Cute Stitch Journal
I need notebooks. So many notebooks. Trying to keep track of ideas, things to do for various projects, and just life in general is too much information for my spicy brain to both hold and retrieve. Trying to keep notes on my phone or computer is asking for distractions and just feels chaotic to me. I love the act of writing something down and getting to cross it off later. I’ve been informed this is a form of dopamine-seeking so that seems on brand, I guess. I use different notebooks dedicated to different projects, blog ideas, Etsy store to-dos, and more. By categorizing them, I spend less time flipping through pages and can find what I’m looking for faster. This adorable pack of journals will help you organize your thoughts and actually find them again later! (Your thoughts – the journals can’t help you find themselves later, that part’s on you, boo.)
- Paperage Dotted Journal Notebooks
Another notebook but with dotted line paper. Look, you were warned there were a lot of notebooks involved. I’ve been using these Paperage journals for almost a decade now and truly love them. They’re sturdy so they last a long time which is perfect because I use this journal for my most tedious of tasks. I use bullet journal strategies for a few things such as eating habit adjustments, bill tracking, habit building, and more. While my bullet journal pages are fairly atrocious and look nothing like what you see on Pinterest, the journal itself is incredibly useful.
Stim Toys For the Office
Everyone has different stim toy needs and preferences so this is by no means a limited list. I encourage you to explore and try out different stim toys; I’ve been surprised a few times by stim toys I thought I wouldn’t like only to find out I loved them.
- Fidget Toy Variety Pack
If you’re looking to explore autism stimming toys or ADHD fidget toys, a big variety pack is a great place to start. They come with a wide range of items that appeal to different sensory-seeking preferences. You can slowly work your way through a pack yourself or split it up with some spicy friends!
- Mesh and Marble Fidget Toys
I originally got one of the aforementioned variety packs and split it up between mini-stockings I made for my friends who couldn’t go home for Christmas a couple of years ago. Within that variety pack was a gem of a fidget toy I would never have expected to love as much as I do. That toy was the mesh and marble fidget toy. They are so satisfying to me, I play with one almost every day. Some fidget toys like tangles and such ultimately end up distracting me with the way they need to be maneuvered. The mesh and marble fidget toys are mindless yet satisfying so actually help me stay focused on my work for longer stretches.
Chewing Stim Necklaces
I realize if you work in an office with other people, chewing stim toys are probably not neurodivergent friendly office options. For those with the freedom to chew, here are some of my favorites.
- Dinosaur Chew Necklaces
It can be hard to find the right chewing stim toy that gives the same sensation(s) many of us get by grinding our teeth or clenching our jaw in various fashions. The different edges of this dinosaur stim necklace give different sensory feedback which is great.
- Chew Necklace With Bumpy Texture
This chew necklace has a bumpy texture that I find really satisfying sometimes. Occasionally, I catch myself playing with my jaw in a way I know the oral surgeon who repaired it when I was 16 really wouldn’t approve of. This stimming necklace allows me to get a similar sensation but the bumps prevent me from shooting my jaw too far in one direction or the other.
- Hollow Bite Tubes
Some chewing stim necklaces are so thick they not only don’t give me the sensory input I’m seeking but they hurt my jaw more than clenching it does. Finding these hollow bite tubes was a game-changer! I also like that these come with different textures so you truly can rotate through sensory input to try and find what’s most satisfying.
Neurodivergent Friendly Office Tools
Coping mechanisms can only get us so far sometimes. When the coping mechanisms run out, the ADHD office tools come in.
- Time Management Tools
Time blindness can make it really difficult to organize your day and can even be distracting if you’re worried about losing track of time. This timer is a great tool to help with those problems! It has presets for 5,15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes and you just need to turn the timer to start and stop the countdown. It has three options for alarm volume: high, low, and most importantly, silent (a visual alert flashes instead.)
- Waterproof Notepad Wristband
If sticky notes just don’t work for you, this notepad wristband is the perfect solution. It works like a slap bracelet that you can take off, write on with any pen, and then slap back onto your wrist where you won’t be able to forget it. To erase, simply use the eraser that comes with the bracelet and it’s fresh and ready for a new day of neurospicy nonsense!
- Dimmable Desk Lamp
Some days, the overhead light is just too much. Whether it’s too bright, too noisy, or just too something – a good desk lamp can save you from a total sensory meltdown. This cute desk lamp is small so it doesn’t take up much desk space, has three color temperature options, and is fully dimmable (from 10%-100%.)
ADHD Desk Organization
I know that ADHD and being organized often don’t go hand in hand but these are easy ones, I promise!
- Drawer Organizers
Save yourself hours of digging through your desk drawers looking for things and invest in a drawer organization system. I am a chapstick junkie and frequently need eczema lotion for my hands and I would lose a lot of time looking for these things if I didn’t have a system. I keep both items in their own divider on the closest side of the drawer to me so I can reach in and find them without even looking.
- Charging Tower
I know people are moving towards a universal charger but my devices are unfortunately not all on board yet. Looking for the right kind of wall plug or needing to rearrange cords to make space for another device is just asking for a side quest that steals hours of your day. Save yourself, get a charging tower so you can easily reach and charge multiple things at once. This tower has multiple USB-A ports and USB-C ports so you can stop playing plug-in Tetris.
- Cable Organizers
Dealing with cables and cords is a frighteningly easy way to send me careening wildly off track. I love untangling things. Partially because it’s very satisfying but also because I’m very easily frustrated at minor inconveniences like cables making it hard to reach things or having to dig around for the cable I need. If I need to charge something and see that cables are in a chaotic mess, it will probably bother me until I tidy it up. This can easily result in the corners behind my desk also needing a deep clean or some other side quest that is not conducive to actual work. Taking the time to use cable organizers can indeed be initially tedious. However, it is so satisfying to not have a chaotic workspace that is prone to distracting me with a tempting tangly mess.
ADHD and Autism Friendly Workspaces
Creating a neurodivergent friendly office space can be a process. Every neurodivergent has different sensory needs and stimming habits so it’s important to find what works best for you. I hope the items on this list help you have a better work experience that’s more sensory-friendly.
If you liked this list, check out my blog on neurodivergent kitchen hacks!
What are some of your neurodivergent friendly office tips? Did I leave any neurodivergent office tools off the list? Let me know in the comments!