Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others. You can learn more here.
About 1% of the global population are believed to be on the autism spectrum, with 450,000 people in the US estimated to be living with a diagnosed condition. However, this figure could be much higher. And according to the British Dyslexia Association, approximately 1 in 10 people in Britain are neurodiverse.
Since we have neurodivergent colleagues at Monzo, we believe it's important to take extra care that we foster a work environment that supports them. This means understanding and respecting their needs by making small but meaningful adjustments to our everyday every behaviour and ways of working.
It’s worth noting too that many people who are neurodivergent may not have had a formal diagnosis. In particular, this may be the case for older people, women, and those from ethnic backgrounds. For us, this means there is a chance that there are (significantly) more neurodivergent people within Monzo than we might realise.
Constructive attributes commonly associated with neurodivergent employees include:
Grasp of complicated mathematics
Consistency in tasks once mastered
Attention to detail
Processing data quickly
We support neurodivergent Monzonauts by making changes to our behaviour
Here are three tips we've shared with our team to make sure we're being inclusive:
1 - Don't make assumptions️. No two people are alike and we should avoid simplistic learning. Ask your teammates what they need and how they need it.
2 - Understand reasonable adjustments may be needed. Adjustments can be physical, such as providing noise-cancelling headphones or software which helps with text correction, but they can also involve different changes such as giving a job applicant extra time in an assessment.
3 - Be clear about what you need. Neurodivergent people in particular may appreciate instructions and clear agendas. For Monzo to work for everyone, everyone must have a common understanding of what is expected of them. Avoiding ambiguity is important, as it can lead to confusion, stress, and anxiety.
We also recommend reading this guide from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development on neurodiversity at work.
A Monzonaut's perspective: Ceri, Financial Crime Engineer
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Ceri in the Fincrime team, an engineer in the Transactions squad. I'm nominally based on the office, but tend to work from home about three days a week.
How does your neurodiversity influence and affect your daily life, both inside and outside of Monzo?
The upsides mostly revolve around taking a deep interest in a problem. It’s very useful to dive into a problem head first, understand it inside and out, and come up with a solution that covers all of the angles.
However, this also comes with downsides. By default, I'll tend to communicate very differently to most neurotypical folks. This can lead to a whole raft of situations, ranging from mildly inconvenient (oh, I started describing that from somewhere in the middle!) to seemingly impassable blocks, when it feels like there's an impassable crevasse between you and someone else, that they don’t know is there.
I also experience sensory processing issues. Usually this just manifests getting lost in a discussion because you can't process what people are saying quickly enough. But it can be just as bad as physical pain, and tends to escalate when in an environment with lots of auditory and visual noise, such as the office.
What can fellow Monzonauts, managers and leadership do more to support folks who are neurodiverse?
Make them feel heard.
If you have any tips for extra ways to support neurodiversity, we'd love to hear from you. Just let us know over in our community forum.