1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Email to my manager

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Raggamuffin, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Karma:
    +482
    I'm going to send an email to query if I can use headphones at work to block out conversations and sounds that I'm finding increasingly distracting and stressful.

    Multiple times a day I feel overwhelmed and stare blankly at the screen simply trying to block out the sounds that are causing an intense amount of frustration as I try to block them out.

    Do you think the tone/detail of this email is suitable. I had worn headphones in my first few weeks here until I was told I wasn't allowed to anymore:


    Hi,

    I wanted to query whether or not you could accommodate be using in ear headphones at work. I'm finding a lot of noises and conversations causing distress at work and it's affecting my work productivity. I wasn't sure if this would be a possibility? The sound sensitivity is something I've been discussing with my therapist and she recommended asking if in ear headphones would be a possibility to help block out the noise.

    My previous 2 jobs had allowed this and I found it helped greatly with regards to stress reduction and work productivity. I was still able to respond to any queries from colleagues and answer the phone.

    I'm currently awaiting a referral from my GP for an Autism assessment and my therapist advised sound sensitivity is one symptom that can be present. I understand that headphones might not look professional in the office, but I wanted to ask if it would be a possibility. I find many times during the day I'm finding it very hard to focus and can feel burnt out trying to ignore the sounds that are getting me feeling anxious and distracted.


    Ed
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    Karma:
    +3,065
    Don't mention the autism assessment. It's career suicide.

    JMHO
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Karma:
    +482
    I did wonder, but at the same time does sound sensitivity with no underlying cause hold up? I mean, myanager knows I suffer from anxiety and depression - do I just say it's due to that? Or just leave it as sound sensitivity and a request for headphones?

    Ed
     
  4. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    Karma:
    +3,065
    You can call it misophonia - a symptom with a variety of causes.

    You might also want to stress that the content of the chatter - the coronavirus news, etc. - is anxiety provoking right now - and limit the request to the current crisis. Then later, when you stop using the in-ear phones, you can state how much improved your productivity was!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Karma:
    +482
    The coronavirus talk isn't provoking anxiety though. People talking about it is provoking anger and a lot of it. It's constant, all day chatter and I can't block it out. I can't work with this amount of distraction.

    I would've thought I'd have a meltdown with my old health anxiety from years ago. But I haven't. I read the CDC weeks as go, saw the statistics and that was enough for me. I knew anything affecting me directly would do so via direct contact. A text from my gp if I had symptoms not to attend my appointment and 2 work emails one to say no hand shaking and one to say wash your hands upon entering the building. Those 3 correspondences are sensible and without drama.

    It's the people talking for over an hour a day about the latest news headlines, the latest cases, the latest closures of things running out of stock. I was tired of hearing about it weeks ago, at this point I'm literally at breaking point and I'm worried one day I'm going to snap and get myself fired by telling one of these doom mongerers to stfu

    It's literally the first thing I hear as I walk through the door. All throughout the day I'm surrounded my desks of people talking about it. I'm glad they might have us working from home because this amount of stress is counterproductive. I'm not getting anything done and spending a lot of the day in a daze - staring blankly at my screen trying my hardest to block out the noise, or sat hunched over my desk with my fingers in my ears to silence it all.

    I got a 4 day weekend coming up and I can't wait.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    Karma:
    +3,065
    Well, you asked for suggestions. I wouldn't mention anger! Just mention distraction.

    Also you have a typo in the first line, "be" for "me."
     
  7. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Karma:
    +482
    Sorry if I seem snappy, I'm just really tense right now. I'll go with removing the autism assessment and mention the misophonia.

    I'll wait until tomorrow to see if they announce us working from home and if not I'll send the email and see what happens

    Ed
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  8. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    24,139
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +30,950
    Remember, the OP is British- not American. Somewhat different dynamics in play when it comes to being an autistic employee. IMO it's more likely for them to fare far better in their system than ours.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. WoodWorkingJoel

    WoodWorkingJoel Active Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    Karma:
    +59
    Personally I'd switch this to the positive and remove words like distress entirely.
    Make it along the lines of I've found in previous jobs where I use earphones I'm more focused and get a lot more done. Make it about improving your work for the companies benefit. Tends to be harder to argue with. If they ask for details provide them but always make it sound like it benefits them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  10. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,204
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2018
    Karma:
    +3,065
    Yeah? I knew a guy who had secured employment and his "care team" called the employer and told them to rescind the offer, which they did. This was in UK. So ... there's prejudice everywhere.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  11. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    24,139
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    Karma:
    +30,950
    Discrimination is always possible, but their civil legal environment is not the same as ours in terms of employee protections. They have some while we have none, other than perhaps that which could be considered from the context of workers compensation concerns.

    Best for anyone in Britain to fully understand their legal options first before making any such decisions relative to their own employee environment than that of other nations.

    Something the OP might consider in sending a personal message to @Autistamatic .
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    453
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +825
    I would say something like this:

    Hi [use their name],

    I have been having an issue related to background noise and conversation around me. Particularly with how concerned everyone is with Covid lately, I find the distraction is affecting my work productivity.

    I would like to use in-ear headphones to help block out the noise so I can better focus on my work. Would that be ok with you?

    Thanks!
    Ed


    I see no need to mention the therapy stuff at all.. It honestly shouldn't matter. It's affecting your productivity, your boss should want that mitigated.. If that means having you wear earphones, or him/her getting everyone else to shut up.. He/she should want that fixed..

    Also, phrasing like "I wanted to query whether or not you could accommodate" and "I wasn't sure if this would be a possibility?" come across as very tentative to me, like you are expecting a "no".. If you come across as expecting a particular answer, that is more likely the answer you are going to get..
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,238
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,433
    Still a career suicide. Just no one will tell you that to your face. They'll use other reasons instead. Not a team player. Low productivity. Doesn't listen to instructions. Causes inconvenience for other employees. Etc.

    Or, well, after consideration you just might not be the best pick for the company. Your style of working may fit other places better.
     
  14. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,708
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Karma:
    +2,691
    I definitely wouldn't mention autism or therapy, I would keep it brief. I'm in the UK and I do not think autism is well understood here, or anything much you might say about yourself that might be interpreted as negative, at work.

    They are mostly only interested in how your diversity can benefit them, for example I was asked to meet with the rep from Stonewall by a previous employer (as a gay and nonbinary person) to discuss their application to be listed as stage one employee friendly for LGBTQ staff.

    I was the only person at the meeting, and I had to ask at the desk for an administrator to let me through to the room for it as it wasn't in a venue I had a pass for, so goodbye anonymity. I raised a number of concerns, including that I didn't know of any other LGBTQ staff, apart from one person I had employed, and the lack of anyone at the meeting seemed to bear this out. However the Stonewall rep thought they'd ticked all the boxes to be listed as LGBTQ friendly... she pointed at a poster that said it was ok to be LGBTQ.

    Standards aren't high, and difference isn't valued. Do you know anyone at work who is out and proud as autistic?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    309
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Karma:
    +390
    From my experience of working in an open plan office in the UK there are a lot of people wearing headphones most of the time. I do and in my context it is quite OK, and not regarded as unprofessional. So long as you do your job it is OK, and indeed we have phones that come through to headphones.

    I feel the tone of the email is good and balanced, not assertive, but respectful.
     
  16. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Karma:
    +482
    Honestly, thank you for all the replies. I'll draft up another email and post it on here tomorrow morning.

    Have a nice evening all

    Ed
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  17. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,238
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,433
    Good luck with the email, Ed!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,007
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +5,761
    My suggestions:
    • Remove the mention of therapist and ASD (as others have recommended).
    • Change "be" to "me" in the first sentence.
    • Change "I wasn't sure if this would be a possibility" to "Please let me know if this is a possibility" - changes it to a direct question with a yes/no answer.
    • I would also suggest changing "you could accommodate me" to "you would allow me". I don't have a good reason - it just feels more direct.
    When dealing with managers, I find it best to get to the point as quickly as possible (you did!), present the issue, then present your proposed solution.

    After the summary of the problem and solution, you can add a detailed description - but allow for the possibility that the manager won't read it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Juliettaa

    Juliettaa Black Sheep. Society of One. V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    679
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,742
    Absolutely correct @Judge.

    Whilst it may be career suicide in the US, I have not experienced this in the UK.

    Since my diagnosis, I have had more positive than negative experiences with accommodations being made and increased responsibility (which was negotiated with me, not forced) plus encouragement to apply for posts above my current grade.

    @Raggamuffin - in your situation, because you don't have a diagnosis, your employer doesn't have to make accommodations for you, so it may be best to hold fire on mentioning your assessment and/or autism 'self diagnosis' and just stick to your need to wear headphones as a concentration aid.

    I'd factor into your email that by wearing the headphones you predict an increase in your productivity and a positive impact to your overall well-being. That way, if they don't allow you to wear the headphones and your work output goes down due to the constant distractions and your inability to focus, it's their fault for denying you making what really is a minor reasonable adjustment at no cost to the employer.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,007
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +5,761
    I know one guy at my work that is self-diagnosed as Asperger's. I am not 'out' to him. There are 6 trusted people at work who know I'm autistic. Lately, I have been considering just telling everyone, but ... not yet.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 2