Manual of Me: How to create an inclusive workplace

At Future London Academy, we were so inspired by neurodiversity coach and Design Leaders Teacher Emma Wee's session on championing neurodiversity in the workplace that we wanted to find a way for us to be more inclusive.

Creating a more accessible workplace not only benefits neurodiverse team members, but also creates a great workplace culture, promotes sustainable employee engagement, and builds trust amongst your team.

INTRO

This lets your colleagues know what sort of topics you like to chat about while on a tea or coffee break. Better yet, ‘The Manual of Me’ even asks you to share your tea/coffee order so your colleagues can surprise you with a friendly boost. This is also useful for those of you who might not be tea/coffee drinkers, so you can highlight some other drinks or snacks of choice.

One surprising insight we gained from this section is discovering that some of our teammates don’t like to talk about work while taking a break at the coffee machine. Does that sound like you? The ‘Manual of Me’ is a great opportunity to express this in a way that feels open and supportive. 

COMMUNICATION & PAIRING

This is a great section to lay out your communication preferences. For instance, some of our colleagues prefer to email while others would rather use WhatsApp or a Slack channel for internal communication. At its core, learning about our communication styles helps us ensure that we are reaching out to our team members in ways which keep stress levels to a minimum. This also helps when an urgent matter arises and needs a team’s undivided attention.  

Additionally, this is a great opportunity to discuss how your team approaches paired or collaborative work. Your company might have a certain way of tackling projects, but that doesn’t mean that’s what works best for everyone involved. Learning more about collaborative styles can help you reconfigure your approach to working together. 

PROFESSIONAL GROWTH

When was the last time someone gave you a really valuable piece of feedback? What made it valuable? Are you someone who benefits from hearing positive feedback to understand what is working? Or are you someone who wants to jump straight into what needs improvement? There is no right or wrong way to receive feedback, but this is an excellent moment to reflect on what feedback is most useful for you. Our team discovered that for some of us, it is useful to know what is working well so they can get a sense of where the project is headed. Other teammates laid some clear ways that help them navigate negative feedback so that they can grow and figure out the next steps. 

Not only is this also a great way to discuss what strengths you bring to the table, but this section is also a chance to express what misconceptions people might have about you. For instance, many of our teammates mentioned that their facial expressions might come across as angry or disinterested when they are thinking or in a state of deep concentration. This was an especially invaluable insight which helped us feel more comfortable in our flow states. 

NEEDS & EXPECTATIONS

We want our team to feel energised and excited about all of the amazing people we never stop learning from. This section of ‘The Manual of Me’ gave us the chance to discuss what keeps us productive, what causes us stress, and what gives us energy. Some of our teammates love to bounce back between a couple of projects at a time to keep their energy flowing. Other members like to focus on one task at a time. Learning more about this helped us to not only avoid stressors for our colleagues, but to strategise ways of developing our projects so that everyone can put their best foot forward and engage in meaningful work. 

FUN FACTS

Chances are you work with a creative and talented bunch of people. This is your chance to find out whether there are unique skills or interesting stories to share. You never know what you’ll find out!

Does this sound like something your team would benefit from? Try out ‘The Manual of Me’ by using the free template below. We recommend you send the form out to your team in advance and allow at least an hour to meet and discuss your findings: 👇


https://miro.com/app/board/uXjVM1Q_glQ=/

Want to learn more about neurodiveristy? Check out our recent article, ‘What is Neurodiversity?’ to gain even more tips from Emma Wee. 💛

You can learn more on how to become Exponential leader and build your own company at our Design Leaders Programme.

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