World Autism Awareness Day 2020

2 April 2020

HSBC is encouraging its employees to think about what they could do to create a supportive workplace for colleagues with autism as it marks World Autism Awareness Day 2020.

This is particularly relevant during the coronavirus outbreak, with many people working from home and dealing with new challenges in their jobs and personal lives.

Autism is a form of ‘neurodiversity’, as people with autism perceive the world around them differently. Other forms of neurodiversity include dyscalculia, dyslexia, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

According to the Business Disability Forum, a non-profit organisation that leads a global taskforce on disability inclusion, autism covers a broad range of experiences and different people may need different adjustments to help them fulfil their potential at work.

For example, some people can feel overwhelmed in noisy environments and might need a quiet desk. Others may be uncomfortable with changing deadlines and could benefit from a clear timetable for regular tasks.

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, additional hints on how to best support neurodiverse people working from home include:

  • Ensuring online meetings are as accessible as possible
  • Understanding that some people may need more time to take in new information
  • Establishing routines to help separate the working day from personal time

Ian Stuart, CEO, HSBC UK, said: “Neurodiversity is important to our business because it means we are bringing a spectrum of skills and talents to our thinking and decision-making, helping us to innovate, problem solve and ultimately serve our customers better.”

Mr Stuart is Global Executive Sponsor of HSBC’s Ability Employee Network, which includes employee resource groups dedicated to supporting people affected by disability and mental health challenges.

HSBC’s backing for World Autism Awareness Day reflects its aspiration to create a working culture where everyone can fulfil their potential and thrive.

Read more about HSBC’s commitment to inclusion .