Open office plan, no accommodations, and ADHD

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    • #98245

      Hi all,

      The company I work for went through a merger recently. I went from having a boss who was very accommodating of my (unmedicated) ADHD and made sure I had an office with a door that closed, to working in an office with an open office floor plan. Even prior to the merger, I was very open with my immediate supervisor and the CEO about my need to have some dedicated, closed-off space and even joked that the janitor’s closet would be fine. My requests have not been acknowledged and I have tried numerous times to speak to both my supervisor and the CEO about the issues I’m having with concentration in a loud, chaotic work environment. There is also a culture here that discourages headphones so I’m not even able to tune out that way.

      I have tried my best to be flexible, but the noise, distraction, and constant interruptions are killing me and as a result I’m making major errors in my work, not keeping up with tasks, and am barely able to walk in the door each morning. My job does not offer insurance and I am paying out-of-pocket for therapy and looking into paying for Adderall just to make it through the day.

      Has anyone else experienced a boss who was unable or unwilling to provide reasonable accommodations and didn’t seem to understand what your diagnosis means for your work life? How did you handle it?

      Thanks for reading and any insight is appreciated. I’m at my wit’s end.

    • #98253

      Hey Molly,

      I went through this in my career .. I had coping mechanisms without meds until there were changes and i hit tipping points and had to readjust .. My Worst tipping point was suicide attempts which is abit extreme but that’s what the frustration and depression that i got after i was unable to cope. Because the frustrations of the environment affect performance and once productivity goes down.. it’s a downward spiral from there

      So i would suggest you talk to your therapist on how to readjust to survive in your environment before you hit a tipping point.Its good you have recognised this early and you are willing to make changes to survive

      For sure Adderall would do you good and probably you could probably enrol in something you could do in the evenings or weekends like yoga , gym or any activity that you will look forward to when the going gets hard in the office

      hope this helps.

      All the best ..

    • #98314

      Hi Molly!

      First of all, I am so sorry to hear you’re going through this and I know how you feel. In my last office it was an open office environment and my cube mate had Tourette’s — complete with uncontrollable verbal outbursts of an inappropriate nature. I didn’t fault him for his condition, of course, but tried severa times to approach my boss about it. I requested to use an empty office, knowing it would eventually be filled, and he completely ignored my requests. I ended up taking a different position in another office and while I still struggle — a lot sometimes — my new boss is much more understanding. Now, I know that doesn’t mean you can just get a new job, so…

      It’s VERY good that you have a diagnosis and see a therapist. And also that previously you were given reasonable accommodations! Why? Because you may be able to get the accommodations you need under the Americans with Disabilities Act! There are some stipulations that must be met to utilize the ADA, including documented history of the condition and how it affects you personally, otherwise preventing you from doing your job (aka it must disable you).

      I would document any conversations with your boss about accommodations. Try to compile a timeline of dates, times, and with whom you’ve spoken to show you’ve made attempts in earnest to remedy this. If you have any measurable performance changes from when you had accommodations to not having them, compile the stats in a document. Take all of that info to your company’s HR or similar department, along with a letter from your doc or therapist if you can get one.

      Explain to them that because your ADHD is otherwise debilitating, you are entitled under law to reasonable accommodations, and outline those requests in a document. Try to briefly explain what each accommodation does to support your work performance. It will be a daunting task, but it will help you in the end. When talking to HR try not to get aggravated or upset (it will be hard to have to explain yourself yet again, most likely) and also try to word your request so that it doesn’t sound like a threat. As a last resort you could consider a free consultation from an employment attorney that specializes in ADA.

      Timeline of requests to new management
      History of past requests to old manager
      Any supporting documents/emails outlining past accommodations
      Letter from therapist/doctor
      List of current requests and how they will help
      Any performance-related stats before/after merger if available
      Printed copy of ADA

      You can find more info here:

      Also, when I was taking Evekeo (similar to Adderall) I know there was a huge coupon available. There are some other medication coverage programs out there for FREE that will get you discounted meds for all kinds of things so consider looking into those.

      Best of luck to you!! I know exactly how frustrating this is and all the anxiety it can bring. I hope you get a quick resolution!

    • #98458

      Hi Molly-
      First of all, I am sooooo sorry you are going through this. It’s a horrible feeling to be stuck like that. I have been there and can totally relate…ultimately, I did end up having to find another job. ADHDinPGH offers excellent advice. I documented all of those things, submitted an ADA request, and was ignored, denied. I filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (I think that’s who they were…the letters were EEOC). They were looking into it for me until I got a new job and dropped the issue.

      As for the medication, Adderall will help, but the fact of the matter is, you will likely still continue to struggle because you are still in an environment that offers too many distractions. What they are doing to you is not right and I hate that you are going through that. Know that you are not alone…got on some facebook ADD groups and see if anyone has helpful ideas or advice there also. Good luck and I truly hope things get better for you. 🙂

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