ZS’s innovations are a byproduct of diverse perspectives joining together to solve life sciences, technology and other industries’ toughest challenges. Expansive representation of varying identities, experiences, belief systems and abilities within ZS helps us solve those challenges—and that includes talent from groups like Accessibility@ZS, one of our many employee-led inclusion and diversity groups (IDGs).
Freja Fjellerup loves a challenge. As a senior scientific software developer based out of ZS’s Copenhagen office, she knows ZS does too. “ZS is a great place to work because we trust our people and give them responsibility,” she says. “I’ve noticed that if you have an idea, everybody will encourage you to do it.”
This attitude is exactly what led to her involvement with Accessibility@ZS. Freja is neurodivergent, meaning a person whose brain functions differently than a majority of the population. Those that often embrace the term neurodivergent—such as people on the autism spectrum, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome or a combination of conditions—use it to describe the varying ways they process and interact with the world. Neurodivergent people have different strengths and challenges from neurotypical individuals and might benefit from certain types of accommodations and support. Famous examples of people with neurodivergence include Emma Watson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Billie Eilish.
“As a neurodivergent person, one of the first things I asked about were the IDGs. It’s really important for me to connect with other neurodivergent people. When I found that this falls under Accessibility@ZS, I quickly got involved,” Freja says. “With help from other dedicated colleagues, I worked on an internal article for neurodiversity visibility and then connected with HR to expand offerings for neurodivergent people in our Copenhagen office.”
To begin her involvement, Freja first investigated the offerings already accessible across ZS. She found that many offices have dynamic chairs available upon request, so ZSers with ADHD can have something to fidget with while they work. She also discovered that some offices offer noise-cancelling headphones for people who need to limit environmental stimulation to focus on work.
This led Freja to organize a local panel of neurodivergent ZSers to better understand the needs that aren’t being met. Because of her research, ZS is now looking into expanding our offerings of reading and spelling support tools for ZSers who are dyslexic.
While these may seem like small adjustments, Freja says they can have a big impact for those who are neurodivergent. “I know a lot of people who have a lot to offer but have struggled early in their lives or gotten lost in the healthcare system,” Freja confides. “It’s important that we help everyone to be their best and spread knowledge of what neurodiversity is. It’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s an advantage for any workplace to have people who think differently.”
To learn more about Accessibility@ZS and our other diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, follow ZS on social media.