Depression in the Workplace
Recently depression in the workplace has become something of increasing concern. If an employee is found to be depressed, it will not only affect the productivity of this employee but their happiness on the job as well. Not only can it do this, but their depression can actually have an effect on their coworkers and their work production as well. Depression in the workplace isn’t something that is hopeless and can’t be fixed. There are things that can be done to help those who are depressed at work.
Create a Happy Workplace
For most people who work outside the home find that work helps to provide structure to their day, gives them the chance to socialize, can be a source of happiness, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. A happy workplace can also help to reduce the chances of people becoming depressed.
Even though many workplaces do have great environments, there are circumstances where work can be not so beneficial to one’s overall well-being. Even though there isn’t a lot of evidence that poor working conditions can cause depression, workplaces that tend to have an unreasonable work environment along with other issues like problems at home can contribute to a depressed mood.
Workplace Conditions Needed for Happy and Healthy Employees
There are some common conditions that should be included in the workplace that will ensure employees are happy and healthy.
- There should be good working conditions. This should include good levels of light, minimal noise, clean air, and comfortable room temperatures.
- Job positions that offer opportunities to develop and use their skills.
- There should be jobs that offer employees variety including some input into the creation and/or design of the type of work.
- Bosses who are supportive of the employees, the type that doesn’t bully or criticize.
- Very clear performance expectations and then the support in order to meet these same expectations.
Employers Need to Catch It Early
Those employees that are suffering from untreated depression in the workplace usually don’t report their problems are usually afraid that there will be some sort of retribution or even loss of their jobs. Also, quite often, many simply don’t realize that even if they are depressed, it can be treated successfully. The fact of the matter is, nearly 80% of those depressed are treated successfully and will miss very little work or none at all.
Managers are responsible to meet the needs of their business. If there are personal problems that seem to be impairing an employees ability to perform their work duties, they need to support this employee and help them get the help they need. It is not the managers’ responsibility to diagnose the problem but it is their responsibility to identify any problems that seem to be interfering with their work performance and help them deal with these issues. This could mean referring them to the company employee assistance program if there is one. If not, they should be referred to the human resources department.
If a manager does an early intervention it will allow for a more effective treatment for the employee. Managers can be even more helpful by giving them a little time off from work if there is some medical need and then ease their return to work by trying to modify some of their work demands as well as expectations for a while if at all possible. It’s also vital to look at the work environment itself to try and ensure that the company is providing a healthy workplace and isn’t what is contributing to the stress of their employees.
Employees Need to Help Themselves
If an employee feels they are suffering from depression it’s important that they are not afraid to seek some advice on it. It’s important to find out if their company might have various resources that can help them find outside help. When seeking and getting help, it’s very important that the employee doesn’t completely stop working. They need to continue to try to keep doing whatever they’re capable of doing, even if it’s just routine tasks. By doing nothing, and staying in bed all day is only going to complicate their feelings of being worthless and increase their depression.
If you believe that a co-worker or friend is depressed, talk to them and then encourage them to find help especially if you notice the following signs:
- Excessive forgetfulness
- Crying spells
- Lack of enthusiasm
You can figure out whether or not you might need to help someone if you notice they’re depressed for weeks and they don’t seem to even enjoy what they usually seem to be interested in or if they have a continual sense of gloominess about them.