Autism and Workplace: How to Create a Healthy Environment for Autistic People?

Last Update on July 5, 2024 : Published on July 6, 2024

Living life with high-functioning autism can be challenging especially when you’re not able to express your emotions and thoughts socially. However, once you decide that autism cannot define you and you’re capable of making wonders, you’ll be able to achieve more than anyone can imagine!

Speaking of dreams, the workplace is the place wherein we learn, gain knowledge, grow, convert our weaknesses into strengths, and whatnot! Seeking a job with autism can be a challenging part because of stereotypical thinking related to autism.

Well, if you’re new, let me tell you a lesser-known fact about autistic people, “autistic people are hard workers and are often assumed to have more strength as compared to other people.”

Therefore, if you or your loved one belong to an autistic community and think that you’re not able to work or will not be able to settle into a workplace, you might be wrong here. Provide yourself some motivation, prepare yourself for the interview, and reach your goals, it’s high time now!

Finding and settling for a neurotypical job can be a task, but worry not, I have got you covered! This blog offers a complete guide for autistic people seeking jobs, adjusting or settling into a new workplace, coping with difficulties experienced at the workplace, and how to create an autistic-friendly workplace.

So, let’s get started!

List of Contents

  • Section 1: Seeking Job with Autism
  • Section 2: Settling to Workplace
  • Section 3: Coping with Difficulties
  • Section 4: Creating a Safe Workplace for Autistic People
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1: Seeking Job with Autism

It’s quite difficult to find a job that is going to understand and adjust according to autistic people’s needs. Therefore, in order to find the right job, firstly, it’s important to look for places offering extended support and a safe place for the autistic community. You can start looking for jobs through online platforms or nearby hiring companies. Here’s your mini-guide to find the right job with autism:

1. Explore jobs based on your needs:

Start by making a list of jobs or workplaces offering neurotypical support to autistic people. Further, highlight workplaces covering your personal needs. Explore workplaces with higher support, employee satisfaction, and goal orientation.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses:

Explore your strengths and weaknesses by making a list. Try to brainstorm a little harder and enlist those skills that showcase your talent and can be beneficial for the team as well. For example, if you’re applying for the job of a writer, share how effectively you’ll be able to write content for the autistic community and work for their awareness. Additionally, list your weaknesses as well so that you can prepare for them before entering for interviews.  

3. Give priority to your specializations and preferences:

Furthermore, brainstorm about your preferences based on your talents and interests. For example, if you know how to handle or manage children excellently, you can apply for a teacher job. In such cases, you can start collecting important documents required for the job.

4. Be honest during interviews:

Once you apply and get a call from the company, be honest about your needs, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Openly tell them about your social handling skills and comprehension skills so that they can provide extended support after joining as well. During interviews also mention your atypical habits, ask for more time to answer your questions, highlight your skills, and practice your interpersonal skills

Section 2: Settling to Workplace

Did you know the unemployment rate of autistic people is only 71%, therefore, before joining the workplace, learn some strategies to adjust to the workplace.

Commonly autistic people struggle with atypical communication style, time management, sensory issues, consistency, and anxiety. Every autistic personality is different and everyone does not struggle with the same symptoms. Therefore, understanding your own needs and issues can help you settle into the workplace effectively. Here’s how you can adjust or settle into the workplace:

1. Discuss your diagnosis openly:

During your initial days, discuss your diagnosis with your team lead or manager so that they can help you during tough days. Additionally, while discussing your issues and personal needs, make sure you’re rightly heard and understood. In case of emergencies, you can also provide them with the contact list.

2. Allow yourself some time to process:

Don’t expect adjustments coming your way directly. Become a hard worker, take your time, understand your roles, and reflect accordingly. If you’re not used to working this much or not able to manage your time, ask for free time to work for a while. You might face a lot more challenges during the process but make sure you stand through.

3. Ask for training days:

In order to understand your roles and duties effectively, ask for training. Don’t hesitate to discuss your weaknesses and instead showcase your talents and interests so that everyone in the workplace can join your hands and help you that way.

4. Seek the support of your loved ones:

If you have a friend or autistic colleague at the workplace, seek their support and understand the needs of the workplace. Avoid putting pressure on yourself instead gradually work towards your goals. Divide your goals according to your roles. For example, if you’re having a hard time managing your schedule, gradually work on your time management skills and later move on to another thing.

Section 3: Coping with Difficulties

Generally, the ASD community struggles with social and communication skills due to which they are not able to attain jobs of their interests. In this section, I have covered the common struggles of autistic people in the workplace along with strategies to combat them.

1. Improve your interpersonal skills:

As mentioned above, autistic people are not really good at social and communication skills. Therefore, work hard to improve your interpersonal skills. Try to understand social cues, facial expressions, and face reading to easily adjust to the workplace. Additionally, avoid miscommunication by asking questions directly and being honest about your issues. Avoid mental burnout or exhaustion by asking authorities to write a detailed mail so that you can comprehend what needs to be done.

2. Learn time management skills:

Time management is one of the most common struggles of the autistic community. Therefore, work on your time management skills initially so that you can slowly increase the pressure of accomplishing tasks. Herein, you can take the help of time management tools such as applications, calendars, to-do lists, and others. Additionally, you can also set a timer for enhancing your focus and completing tasks on time.

3. Manage sensory issues:

Sensory issues are other common issues faced by autistic people in the workplace. Generally, fluorescent lights and continuously ringing phones might cause an overwhelming sensation. Therefore, in such cases, ask your workplace to accommodate according to your needs. Explain clearly what distracts you or makes you uncomfortable. Additionally, in such cases, you can also use headphones to manage distractions while working.

4. Practice mindfulness-based techniques for anxiety and stress:

Mindfulness-based exercises help in managing stress, anxiety, time management, productivity, and interpersonal skills. Therefore, try some effective mindfulness-based exercises such as mantra meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and others. In order to cope with intense negative feelings such as detachment, demotivation, stress, and anxiety, try stress-relieving practices.

5. Improve your productivity gradually:

In the initial days, keep your work life simple, try to establish a work-life balance, and improve your work levels gradually. Maintain your personal sanity before shifting your focus to business-related needs.  

6. Adjust gradually and seek the support of your colleagues:

Seek guidance and support from your colleagues or other people from the autistic community to learn how to achieve goals and how to understand business needs.

Section 4: Creating a Safe Workplace for Autistic People

If you’re an employee, manager, HR, or business owner looking forward to creating a safe workplace for the autistic community, this section is for you. In this section, I have listed quick and effective ways to create a safe workplace for autistic people:

  • Avoid discrimination in the workplace by treating every employee equally.
  • Share the same benefits and pay scale for all employees.
  • To avoid harassment by coworkers or colleagues, provide a briefing about ASD to all employees to make them learn about the disorder.
  • Treat everyone with kindness, respect, and empathy.
  • Focus on improving the self-esteem of autistic people to bring out the best results for your business.
  • Provide feedback constantly and effectively to autistic people to make them learn and improve gradually.
  • Provide a safe space and healthy environment to autistic people so that they can express their emotions freely.
  • Provide physical accommodations such as headphones, one-on-one meetings, visual aids, and step-by-step instructions for easy flow.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does autism affect the workplace?

Autistic people, especially high-functioning autistic people do not show signs of disability or lack of social skills. However, it might be challenging for them to settle or get comfortable in a workplace where other people also work. It takes a lot for them to understand the opportunities, work on them, and prove themselves in the workplace.

What are the weaknesses of autism in the workplace?

Autistic people in the workplace become goal-oriented and socially available. However, in the midst of the chaos, they might seem less attentive, stressed, or frustrated. In some cases, they might not be able to comprehend easily, effectively reflect like others, or understand the needs effectively.

What does autism look like in the workplace?

Autistic people in the workplace are goal-oriented, simple-minded, and interested people who sometimes may look chaotic, difficult to understand or respond to social cues. However, when it comes to productivity, no one can beat them especially when it’s a matter of their specializations.

How to manage staff with autism?

One of the best ways to manage autistic staff at the workplace is to offer support whenever they need it, understand their needs, and create and provide them a safe space to show their creative and productive side.

What are autism strengths at work?

Attention to detail, focus, effective problem-solving skills, unwavering productivity, diverse thinking, and creativity are some of the known strengths of autistic people at work.

Can autistic people be successful at work?

Yes, in these past years, the autistic community was able to break a lot of stereotypes related to them. When it comes to their specializations and goal orientation, no one can beat the success of autistic people.

What are the benefits of autistic employees?

Untapped talent, systematic and creative thinking, effective problem-solving skills, consistency, quality assurance, and goal-oriented personality are some of the benefits of autistic employees.

I hope this blog helps you gain a detailed insight into “autistic people in the workplace.” Comment down and share your views on the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage.

A small request…if you’re someone who belongs to the autistic community or knows other friends or colleagues from the autistic community empower them by sharing this blog. Also, let them know, they’re capable of bringing wonders to this world.

Let’s make this world a better place for everyone by allowing everyone to showcase their inner strengths and talents.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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