Although symptoms such as decreased productivity, absenteeism, low energy and irritability may be signs of an unmotivated employee, these issues may be indicators of a deeper issue of depression. Although it is common to consider depression a personal problem, depression in the workplace cost companies billions of dollars in call-offs and decreased productivity.
Depression affects millions of Americans, however, this condition doesn’t have to go untreated. By addressing depression in the workplace, companies can decrease problems ranging from tardiness to low morale and poor quality of work.
Depression occurs when a person is having trouble handling situations and life changes. These feelings may interfere with healthy functioning of the mind, body, and spirit. Negative thoughts and behaviors may carry over to all aspects of life, including the workplace. That’s why it is important for employers to be proactive about dealing with depression.
As an employer, it is important to educate yourself and your staff about depression. Either by creating a brochure or by providing resources from a local support group. Bringing in a speaker to teach your staff to recognize the symptoms of depression in both themselves and their coworkers is also an excellent approach.
Employers may offer periodic depression screenings, contact numbers of support groups for those struggling with depression, or referrals for human resources or counselors. Sometimes, it helps just to know there is someone that is willing to listen.
Adapt Your Culture
Creating a healthy workplace environment may help to boost employee’s mood and attitudes throughout the day. Ecotherapy, or nature therapy, is proven to contribute to a happier workplace. Incorporating this form of therapy in your workplace is as simple as adding:
- Windows to let in natural light
- Full spectrum lightbulbs to boost vitamin D
- An aquarium with live fish or some form of running water to promote relaxation
- Live plants to increase oxygen levels and add a little life to the office
All of these helps to make the office a more natural environment, but each has been shown to boost productivity and the mood of employees. It’s a worthwhile investment that will absolutely pay off in the long run.
Sometimes, depression can result in unexpected actions that could pose a danger in the workplace. If left untreated, depression may become life threatening. Remaining aware and taking proactive steps for an employee who is suffering could just save their life. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing the employment law attorneys at The Law Office of Omid Nosrati.
Remain aware of any sudden changes in an employee’s personality or actions, and reaching out to see if they need help is important in avoiding bad situations. You also need to be prepared to act quickly if an episode does occur. Have measures in place to take an employee to the hospital, contact their family members, and the police in a worst-case scenario.
Being proactive is the best course of action. Taking the initiative and preventative measures will result in better productivity as well as a positive culture, showing your employees that you care. Keep in mind that, as an employer, you should not diagnose an employee with depression. Instead, employers should be aware of symptoms of depression so that you may be supportive and helpful.