What can the cyber industry do to be more inclusive of neurodiverse people in the workplace?

What can the cyber industry do to be more inclusive of neurodiverse people in the workplace?

In the ever-expanding world of cyber it is important to accommodate those joining the industry, as such there are changes you can make to create a more neurodiverse friendly working atmosphere. The term neurodiverse is used to describe people whose brains function differently than is defined as ‘normal’ by society’s standards or neurotypical. A wide range of conditions fall under the description of neurodiverse such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. Below is a list of five changes you can make to accommodate your neurodivergent staff:

Create a more flexible workplace

Not everybody works best within the usual 9-5 workday, to create a more positive working environment it is a good idea to offer flexibility as to when your employees complete their working day. Pen testing does not need to be a 9-5 job, in reality cyber-attacks do not follow a 9-5 working day schedule. To mimic real world attacks a fully flexible working day would benefit both the employee and the test scenarios they are carrying out.

Create quiet workspaces

For some neurodivergent people sounds can be very over stimulating. You can help with this by creating quiet workspace areas, where employees can go to work with the expectation of it being a quiet and calm environment that they will not be disturbed in. Alternatively, if this is not possible for your office space consider providing noise cancelling headphones so people can drown out the hustle around them or listen to their safe sounds. Headphones are not just a trendy accessory; they are a vital piece of equipment. However, when it comes to pen testers this is less of an issue as most work from home or on site. To reflect this different accommodations need to be made such as accepting the need for silence in this particular work environment, and respecting that they require this in order to carry out the necessary works.

Allow hybrid work

for some neurodiverse people being out of their home environment in itself can be a stressful and over stimulating experience, you can combat this by allowing employees to work from home.  Pen testing is a great career to enter as a neurodiverse person that prefers home working, as an industry standard this is a role that encourages and accepts hybrid working as the norm.

Alter social expectations

When interviewing for roles you’re often told how important it is to have a strong handshake and hold eye contact, for some neurodiverse people this is extremely uncomfortable. This doesn’t make them any less of a good employee, it just requires you to change what you expect from a social interaction.

Be respectful of people’s differences

The best thing you can do to make the workplace a more welcoming environment for neurodiverse people is to respect and fulfil the accommodations they ask for. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, there is a reason they have requested this change.

It is important to remember one style of workplace will not fit all. As we move forward as an industry these accommodations will become the norm. However, in the meantime it is important to bear diverse requirements in mind. Not all of the above changes apply to only neurodiverse people, everyone enjoys a bit of quiet from time to time. The future is neurodiverse, it is time we as an industry catch up to speed.

Take a look at The Cyber Scheme’s past blogs here: Articles – (thecyberscheme.org)